I learned the importance of beginning and maintaining a gratitude practice a number of years ago. Teachers that came into my life at that time, books I read, quotes that caught my attention, all spoke of the power that gratitude has to move us forward, to transcend the mundane, to fuel transformation. So each morning, as soon as I awaken, even before opening my eyes, I offer my gratitude for all the upcoming day will bring to me, as well as for the previous night's rest, my warm and comfortable bed, the light coming through the shutters, etc.
Each night, just before I fall asleep, my last conscious, intentional thoughts focus on the things that have happened during the day and I say a prayer of thanksgiving for all that has occurred, mentioning specifically those individual happenings and occurrences that easily come to mind. I also make a special effort to find something to be grateful for in any challenges and seemingly not-so-great things that might also have occurred that day. And when I can't find anything positive, I offer my gratitude anyway, knowing that something good came from what I experienced, even if in my humanness I am unable to recognize it.
So you might think I have it covered, right? But what I realized after participating in a teleconference last night about gratitude with Rev. Denise DeSimone, is that my gratitude practice has most recently become a gratitude routine!
I've been mostly going through the motions, saying the words, doing what I'm supposed to do (and patting myself on the back for being so consistent!), but without putting any real feeling into it. And without the feelings, the emotions, the words are almost meaningless, which also means they lack the power needed for transformation.
Years ago, in the movie, The Secret, we were told that to get the things we want, we simply need to visualize them. We were told to make a storyboard with pictures of all the things we wanted, and to take time each day to visualize having them. But the point that was often neglected, and the reason this technique often failed for so many people, was that the fuel that manifested what we wanted, what we were visualizing, came from feeling what it would be like to have those things. It was the vibrations from the feelings that we felt that helped manifest what was in the pictures. It was the feelings that would fuel our actions, and in turn, fuel the reciprocal actions of the Universe, and help bring the desires we pictured on that storyboard into being.
So although I've been saying the words, and thinking the thoughts, I know I haven't been feeling grateful (I have my moments, of course, I'm not saying I never feel grateful, but it's not the ruling majority!). I've been too caught up in all the other feelings that have shown up as I accustom myself to all the newness in my life, all the differences, all the changes and challenges.
Going forward I'm making a special effort to feel the gratitude my words and thoughts acknowledge each day. I needed an attitude adjustment. I just thank God I got the kick in the butt I needed in time to start the New Year off on better footing! I'm now looking forward to what 2014 has in store with even greater excitement, knowing that I'm sending out vibrations that have the ability to support my transformation, as well as more deeply appreciate all the goodness already present in my life. Thank you, Rev. Denise, for being the kicker!