Lately, I’ve been trying a gratitude practice. Sonja Lyubomirsky, famed in the Positive Psychology world for her book, “The How of Happiness,” suggested that this is my “temple practice,” my sadhana work.
Gratitude is hard for me. Well, that’s a simplification. Further explanation: I am very grateful by nature. But, staying in the space of gratitude is hard for me. I can be analytical, heady, critical, optimistically pessimistic... For people like me who are in their head a lot - meandering through role plays of possible future states or past playbacks - staying grounded in gratitude feels like standing on sand.
But, I’ve been doing it. I have been watching my thoughts and redirecting them (over and over and over again) toward the sunny side. I have found joy, a smile in my heart, and a determination for more, please. Here’s what I am learning:
See Gratitude in What Is Happening, Now:
My brain tends to be on Jack Russell speed, so slowing down is the starting point. Slow down. Accept what is happening right in front of you. Let go of expectations.
This is really the hardest step. When standing on your soap box, crowing with gratitude, you will undoubtedly get knocked off with “Reality”. A criticism. A fight. An obligation. When this happens, Ego comes in. The real us – the one that lives in our Heart – closes up in these moments to let Ego come out. We close up in the same way a blow fish blows up, but in reverse. We go inward, snail in our shell, and throw darts of protection. In these moments, being vulnerable is hard. It’s feels raw. Naked. Out there, alone, and lonely. It’s hard to stand in that place. But, it is the only place where one can fully know and give love.
Be a Leader of Love:
In the shadow times, remaining grateful will be an isolated island… lonely and vulnerable. But, this is leadership. This is REAL leadership – the stuff of movements. Society change is created with this kind of leadership. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Jesus Christ. Leading in Love when stones are thrown is the most difficult thing in the world.
Love heals. It teaches us. It moves us in rhythm. But holding it, flowing in Her, with Her… It’s a slippery state. You need a daily practice, first thing in the morning, with a thought. A mantra. A quote or saying. Something to tune your brain to frequency of positivity. Try “Aham Prema,” loosely translated as – “I am Divine love,” and pronounced “Ah-hum Pre-i-mah.” By the way, chants like this can be used with ANY religious or faith background.
Be Authentically Accountable:
You will mess up along the way. You will accidently step on your Beloved’s toe. Or, cut someone off in traffic. Own it. Don’t ego protect when you do. Just put your hand on your heart, say “I’m still ok,” and acknowledge what is. Our ego is very insecure and will go through all sorts of maneuvering to ensure we don’t look bad. You are ok!
Thank you, more please.
Be positive. And, when you get what you want, say: “Thank you, more please.” The universe, the Field, the Akashic – whatever you choose to call the Thought Plane – it IS listening. Start with your language. Words are energy and are creative. They are the vehicle of thought. Start with your words. When you look in the mirror, state what you love. When you get a compliment, say “thank you for seeing that in me.” And, perhaps even – “more please.”
Be Brave. Be Vulnerable. Be Accountable. And Stay Positive. You’re ok, just as you are…