What one thing are you grateful for right now?
The next time you find yourself in a situation full of stress, overwhelm, or suffering, take a moment to get still and ask yourself this simple question: “What one thing am I grateful for right now?” When you find that one thing, repeat it over and over in your mind. Stay present and notice if your internal energy begins to shift from suffering to surrender, even if it is only a very slight change. Allowing yourself to notice even the smallest shift acts as signal that it is okay to relax further. This is the first step toward releasing your suffering by placing your conscious attention on gratitude.
Please understand, I know firsthand that life can be challenging. Loved ones die. Finances collapse. Health issues arise. Relationships end. It’s in these moments when we must be incredibly courageous to choose to focus on gratitude rather than on the negativity we may be experiencing. Be gentle with yourself and remember that it’s possible to be grateful and experience sadness simultaneously; that’s the complexity and beauty of being human.
In moments of overwhelm, it may be difficult to find things to be grateful for. But by reconnecting each moment to your true work, you create space between you and the turbulent emotions of the present moment so that you can take action from a place of conscious gratitude rather than reacting in ways that ultimately will not serve you and only make you feel crummy to boot. ~ From Awaken Your Inner Fire, Lesson 7
Your gratitude for life, with all of its ups and downs, is one of the best ways to ignite your inner fire and keep it sparkly. In each moment you have the choice to perceive what is happening through the lens of frustration, judgment, or victimization or through the lens of gratitude. Why should you be grateful for the hard times, the frustrations, and the upsets? Because gratitude will help you find your way to the other side in a creative, wise manner. And it feels better.
Judgment and victimization dampen our inner fire with stories of “it's not fair” or “they are bad, wrong, awful, impossible!” I'm not asking you to ignore reality and pretend everything is fine. I'm inviting you to look for what you can be grateful for in each moment so you can make better, more efficient, clearer choices from your heart.
How do you become a gratitude fireball of love? Here are some suggestions:
• Say “you are a worthy obstacle” when difficult situations arise. Then wink at the obstacle and be grateful that the game is on to find your way through!
• Separate out your stories or thoughts from this moment – can you practice just being with what is happening without your mind's opinion or judgment about it?
• Be grateful that you are learning tools to stop dampening or leaking your inner fire, even when you find yourself falling into old patterns.
• Each morning name five things you are grateful for. Keep saying thank you for these things throughout your day.
Gratitude is something you can learn to embody, and it is the antidote for a lot of bad mental habits. Negativity and disaster mind drain your energy; naming what you are grateful for turns your attention towards what is right and enlivens you.
Make gratitude your new habit and you'll start seeing more and more things to be grateful for. The air you breath. Gratitude. The water coming from the tap. Gratitude. The way your dog looks at you in the morning. Gratitude. The way your elbow bends as you open the door. Gratitude. The color of the door handle shining in the sun. Gratitude. So many things to be grateful for!