In this lesson, we will be practicing gratitude.
This is a profound shift in the way we think of ourselves and the world around us. Just being alive is a gift to ourselves, a gift to the world. And much of the time, we are ungrateful for this gift.
For example, I have this body and can be very critical of the stomach area and the fats around it. I have a body and it has fat. I can say, “Oh, I don’t like this fatness on me.”. We can blame the media for having years and years of ideals shoved into our brains about looking at our bodies and finding the flaws.
Yet, our bodies are a tremendous gift to ourselves. We were born with them, we’ve grown them, and the truth is, they are amazing things!
- For those of us who can walk, we take our legs and feet for granted. I can run, jump, ride a bike, and kick a ball, which is a true gift.
- I can eat and taste food, which I take for granted every single day.
- I can smell fresh-baked bread, cut grass, and the ocean breeze.
- I can listen to music, laughter, and birds.
- We take our eyes, taste buds, and teeth for granted.
- We take our breath for granted every single day.
- We take our hearts, stomaches, bones, muscles, and skin for granted.
- Our minds are incredible things!
I have this incredible gift of a body and the one thing I look at is the fat, and am ungrateful. I am able to speak a sentence, laugh, and yet, my mind goes to the flaws. I am ungrateful to my body, stomach, and fat. The fat is storage of energy for times when I may need it later. The fat is reminders of incredible meals I’ve had that I wasn’t grateful for. It is there reminding me I have lived an incredible life.
When I look at any part of my life, even procrastinating, it’s the same. I do not have gratitude for being able to do the work that I am able to do. Many people do not have a job and they worry about putting food on the table or paying bills. Yet, the thing I worry about is that I procrastinated a few times today. I get distracted by things on the internet and I don’t think about the miracle that is the internet. It connects me to others, allowing me to do my job and allows me to know anything I want to know. This act of you and I, right now, is breathtaking! Yet, I complain about my distractions.
Every time you criticize yourself, you are committing an act of incredible ingratitude, and that is okay. We can start to shift. The practice is:
- Every time you say something bad about yourself, take that as an opportunity to see what you do have. Be grateful for your body, your ability, your life. Say a prayer of gratitude for each of those things. Whatever it is, recognize the gift of being alive. Whether you criticize yourself, others or the situation you are in, be grateful for the miracle of whatever it is I am complaining about. Flip it around and be grateful. Think about the good things you have done for others. Not only that you have the opportunity, but that you did them!
- Be grateful for failure. Be grateful that you even tried. Most people don’t. You did it, earned, and can grow stronger. It is an opportunity to reinvent yourself. What an incredible thing to be grateful for failure and struggles. Struggles result in growth, learning, and a new “me”.
- Be grateful for your flaws. I feel incredible gratitude for myself, as flawed as I am. I am here loving myself, loving others, doing my best in this world. I am grateful for my tender heart and basic goodness.
I encourage you to practice gratitude each day. Write down five things each day about your situation or yourself to be grateful for. Share with others in Slack, and see how gratitude can transform us. Thank you, my friends.