The Attitude of Gratitude
‘If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you’ – that would suffice’
Having just spent a beautiful weekend celebrating my birthday with my friends and family, I am reflecting on this last year with a heart full of gratefulness! What a journey it has been, and only a few months back I was celebrating 1 year since The Heart Centre was founded with the exact same feeling in my heart – a sense of Great-Fullness!
Not a week passes by without me contemplating how fortunate I am for all the people that have crossed my path and blessed me in so many ways…every single person, from old friends, new friends, teachers, partners, colleagues, students, practitioners, and even those fleeting conversations or one-off emails have all brought about so many blessings in my life. And if you are reading this, YES that most certainly includes you! Without the help, support and loving energy from so many near and far, The Heart Centre would not be the hub of heart lovers that it is today. I am often astounded by how much grace has blown my way in order for me to share what I love so freely. Life is indeed a blessing and as my journey continues to deepen with the love and support of you all, I felt it very necessary to share this with you.
‘When you love what you do you never work a day in your life’ ~ Confucius
I would also like to share with you something that drastically changed my outlook on life at the beginning of my journey, and that is the attitude of gratitude. Some years back, in a foreign land I found myself enduring some intensely challenging times. Life was bleak, tough and heart breaking, and I was in desperate need of a way out…
At this stage of my journey I was aware that I had to nip my negative thought patterns in the bud as they were perpetuating more and more negativity. But when life seems so genuinely grey, it’s hard to suddenly switch your mind set. And that’s where the practice of gratitude came in…one night, after my yoga class, I found myself trying to find any small positive experiences that existed in my life, even the simplest, and began to write a list. The next night I found myself doing the same thing and slowly after some time this became my evening ritual. At first, to be honest, I didn’t genuinely feel a sense of gratitude when I wrote, but funnily enough the list grew longer each week and I found myself meditating on each of these positives, contemplating how they made me feel. Then after sometime these positive statements in my notepad were no longer just notes, they had become feelings that I genuinely embodied, 100% believed in, and whole heartedly felt. The list was no longer as essential at this point, as almost by surprise, I was living a lighter, brighter life filled with fullness; and great opportunities and loving experiences were becoming more and more abundant on a daily basis.
‘When you realise that there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you’ ~ Lao Tzu
As we all may know, having a good old moan is much more second nature to us than cultivating positive, loving thoughts. But it is in fact very easy to trick our mind into doing so. After all we cannot occupy two conflicting states of emotion at the same time! So, as I always say to my students – fake it until you make it! Just like my gratitude list, giving yourself a little time and space to consciously encourage positivity into your day will inevitably allow it to become your natural state.
A study in the US was carried out whereby 100 people were asked to write a gratitude journal for 3 weeks, producing some fascinating results! It was noted that each person that participated had a 25% increase in life satisfaction, exercised more, felt a desire to improve their diet, were told they were much more pleasant to be around and were inspired to continue journalling for much longer than 3 weeks! It has been proven that the attitude of gratitude increases happiness by 25% – enabling a more optimistic outlook on the future as well as drastically improving self-confidence.
‘Gratitude is a noble attitude that springs naturally from the purity of the heart. The root of gratitude is the intuition that we are bliss and from this intuition the flower of gratefulness blossoms.’ ~ Meister Eckhart
The act of gratitude is in fact one of the easiest methods to get more connected to your heart. After all, positive thinking is an act of love, love being the entry way and energy of the heart. That sense of great-fullness arises from the heart of our being, and in this state suddenly problems that once felt overwhelming, now have easy solutions. In a state of gratitude we can easily move into a place of worthiness, presence and surrender; from here life begins to flow effortlessly and we begin to attract into our lives, more of the same energy that we send out.
‘Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgiving, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings’ – William Arthur Ward
If your feeling inspired then why not start your gratitude practice today! It’s easy, just find a set time everyday to take 5 and write your list. Other ways to practice gratitude: meet with a friend once a week and discuss what you are both grateful for. Spend a day in gratitude – allowing every moment or experience in your day to be a grateful experience. Have a moment of gratitude before each meal. Start and end your yoga/meditation practice by honouring the spiritual masters. Use a piece of jewellery/thread or ornament that triggers a reminder of gratitude. Or you can even express your gratitude through your art – photography, painting, writing poems etc.
Have a go and please let me know how you get on in the comments below! Maybe you might even like to share something that you are grateful for?
People. This is what I am most grateful for. The beautiful, shining souls that I have the pleasure of meeting on a daily basis, and even those that I haven’t met yet – thank you! I have been very fortunate to be part of so many wonderful growing communities through what I do, each one providing me with such nourishment, love and deeply inspiring me to grow – its like I have lots of loving families!
And so with deep thanks and love, I bow to the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honour the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace.