How do you practice gratitude?

April 20, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Gratitude | 1 Comment
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I’m not one to stick my head in the sand or cop a Pollyanna attitude, but I purposely limit my exposure to TV, radio, print and internet news. Somehow I manage to stay in touch with current events without inundating myself with crisis-based stories that can send my spirits nosediving.

It’s important to stay informed, but in my experience it’s far more essential to care for myself so that I can effectively care for others. My number-one, daily self-care intention is practicing gratitude, usually first thing in the morning for 10-15 minutes. For me, this generally means reading a page or 2 of something by one of my favorite authors (i.e., Parker Palmer, Sue Monk Kidd, Henri Nouwen, John O’Donohue, Frederick Buechner), then meditating and/or journaling about what I’ve read.

I let myself sit in silence for a bit and simply listen, which gradually flows into more mediation or prayer about specific issues in my life, in the lives of people I love, in our world. And this is where gratitude comes in.

I ask for the fearlessness to accept whatever’s going on around and within me, to see it as a gift. Of course, it’s easier to embrace the “fun” stuff, like starting a new client or taking a trip to Tuscany, than it is to be thankful for my aging uncle’s illness or a friend’s shattered marriage. The main thing I know is that when I release my resistance to what is and receive the change with gratitude — just as Eckhart Tolle writes about in The Power of Now — a very elemental shift can happen.

I rarely understand the shift in an intellectual way; it’s an internal process that I sense. And the shift doesn’t always happen. When it does, though, my spirit becomes tender. I stop fighting. I’m no longer afraid of what or who might come my way. I’m at peace with who I am and in knowing I’m right where I need to be to do what I’m called to do.

How do you practice gratitude?

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  1. I’m so much more effective and a lot nicer to be around when I can begin my day in this way.

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