Sunday, May 17, 2009

Spirituality & Gratitude

"If you count all your assets,

you always show a profit."
- Robert Quillen (journalist)

Hello Spirituality and Science readers - I want to start this post with a question:

What are you thankful for right now? Right now - in this moment - it could be something as simple as your dog curled up next to you or the breeze coming through your bedroom window. Focus on something that you feel grateful for right this very second.

I was inspired to write about gratitude today after spending a gorgeous sunshine-filled afternoon in the park. It was a regular park and a regular day - certainly nothing out of the ordinary. Watching my kids laugh and play is something I do multiple times a week, but somehow when I watched them today, I was struck by how perfect it all was. I felt extremely grateful in that moment and thought about the power of gratitude. I think that often times it's easier to focus on what's wrong in your life than what's right...easier to focus on what you don't have than what you do have. But here's the thing - whatever you focus on (positive or negative) is what grows. So if you focus on what you don't have, you will always have plenty of what you don't have. If you focus on all that you do have, well, that grows as well.

Keeping a Gratitude Journal
Several years before she died, my mother-in-law gave me a gratitude journal as a gift. She knew I often suggested this sort of thing to my clients, but although I was a big believer in gratitude even then, I had never actually written it down. I thought I might as well try it and I wrote 5 things a day that I was thankful for - even when, especially when, I had one of those "is it even possible to have this many things go wrong?" kind of day. Somehow, the act of writing it down seemed to magnify the things I was thankful for - at the beginning, it was a struggle to come up with 5 things every day and pretty soon, I stopped trying to limit my list to only 5 things because I came up with so many. Focusing on the positive appeared to engender more positive events. I'm not saying I never have a bad day now, but they are very few and very far in between. Try it for yourself and see what happens. What are your 5 things for today?

Gratitude and the Power of Intention
Of course, this focus on positive thinking is related to the power of conscious intention discussed in the last few posts. The law of attraction states that you get what you think about, so gratitude is a powerful aid in creating more of what you want. Gratitude is one of my favorite sections of the book The Secret. Now this doesn't mean that you can't desire to have something that you don't currently have, but I believe that if you give thanks for what you do have, then what you don't have will likely show up faster in your life (and you'll be happier in the meantime). I'd love to hear any comments on how gratitude has impacted your life - which reminds me - I'm so grateful for all of you that have found this blog and find it helpful. You all inspire me - until next time...:)


Chuck Dilmore said...

i love where your mind is, your heart.
i love love that both are in the same place!

i made a Gratitude list for several days, recently, and was pleasantly surprised at how my own heart and mind not only improved my outlook and behavior, but also made my relationship stronger.

in a way, gratitude put a subtle sign above my head and changed not only my "front door," but also helped me evolve intrinsically.

thank you this!
i'm happy that you're using the same laws and seeing the beauty!

peace~ Chuck

Anonymous said...

LOL! I'm sitting on my couch drinking my morning coffee and reading your post on my laptop. I read the first question of your post, "What are you thankful for right now?" ... and I think of my home with my fiancé and my coffee in my mug and before I even get to the next line of your post I think, "and my 'dog[s] curled up next to' me" ... then I continue reading your post and it echoes my own thought!!

I think a gratitude journal is great. When I started down this path about a year ago, I first learned that my thoughts are energy and make a difference in my reality. So, I began my goal towards changing my thoughts into MOSTLY positive. Then, I saw the movie, The Secret where they suggest a gratitude journal.

I started a gratitude journal and do you know what else it did for me besides bringing the feeling of gratitude into my life more often? It helped me change my pattern of thought. After keeping a gratitude journal every morning for a few months, my pattern of thoughts has changed.

This is significant to me because initially I thought it would be hard to change my thoughts. I was having trouble banishing negative thoughts that I had inadvertently acquired a habit for: such as WORRY! My beginning attempts at banishing worry (especially worry about the PAST -- which is totally unproductive thoughts) was somewhat discouraging because worry was apparently an addiction I did not know about until all this came into my life. Amazingly, I never considered the disservice I was doing to myself by worrying so much, until this past year when I realized it was a problem and I would scold myself for worried thought. Nevertheless, they would keep coming back and then I would scold myself more and then worry would come back ... the circle would continue ... until ... I started the habit of the gratitude journal.

With it, I would start every morning with positive thoughts and -low and behold- my pattern of thoughts started to change and by now, life inside my head is a much happier place.

My life in general is a much happier place, too. I look back at journals before I knew all this and I was in a hectic place. Previously, I was in an incredibly intense graduate program and doing freelance for three of four different clients and there was death in my family and there was just basically anxiety and chaos everywhere. My journals from before knowing this information and after are significantly different. Not coincidentally, so is my life.

Clearly, the biggest difference is the increase of gratitude!
Thanks for this post because I've slowed down with the gratitude journal and you've reminded me that I need to get back in the habit.
I am grateful for your post.

Anonymous said...

Nice blogging