Macro Monday: Bring Gratitude Into Your Life

It's Thanksgiving here in Canada this weekend, and I have been seeing many posts on facebook etc. surrounding the topic "what I'm thankful for." And this got me thinking about how expressing your thanks & gratitude can change your life. And the best part is you don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to do can do this {in fact, I dare you to find something you're thankful for each and everyday}.

MM: Bringing Gratitude Into Your Life

Okay, so if you're having a bad day, the advice to "list what your grateful for, or think positively" perhaps sounds cheesy & lame, and is likely rather infuriating. Maybe you'd think that that there is no way that thinking will do anything to change your current circumstances, so those new-agey "happy people" can go and....

The response to this? Well, yes you're right: changing your thoughts do not change your actual physical circumstances/reality at the current moment. But, they DO change your experience of your physical reality. And isn't it actually all about your experience?

I've read countless stories about prisoners in war camps & concentration camps, who have gone to alternate universes in their minds, and created beautiful spaces to exist in, while they were trapped in their physical horror. They used their mind to create an experience to manage the situation they were in.

Have you seen the movie Life is Beautiful?  In this film, the father Guido changed the experience of the concentration camp for his son Joshua, by thinking of a different way to view each event/action (to pretend it was all a big game). The real raw reality didn't change: they were trapped in a camp. But his son's experience was that he was playing a game everyday. Same reality, two different experiences of it.

Now of course, most of us do not have to think ourselves out of any experience so horrific as the ones I mentioned above. But we are humans, and we do indeed have day to day problems that arise, both real and exaggerated, and unfortunately sometimes we have bigger issues that linger around causing us pain and bringing in some storm clouds that hover over our life for awhile.

And it is really SO EASY to get caught up in the darkness. The ego thrives off of drama and anything that feeds the drama. People love to hear and read and talk about bad news. They love to point out things that are wrong with everybody and everything. All of this feeds that storm cloud hovering overhead.  And when the storm cloud gets bigger because of all the drama, or because of the real situation itself, we may more frequently have thoughts such as "everything is wrong," "this is so unfair," "I don't deserve this," "why bother," "there's nothing I can do," "I'm screwed," "this is the situation and it sucks, "etc. etc. etc.

So where's the way out? 

Well, one of my favourite sayings is "the only way out is in."

To get out, you must go inwards.
The solution doesn't lie out there. It is inside of you.

In an instance you can go from a mentality of "lack" to a mentality of "abundance" all by making the choice to change your train of thought. 

So right here, right now, ask yourself this: no matter what happens, if my current situation (bad or good) never changes, what are 5 things that I'm grateful for? 

They can be big things like spouses, houses, family, careers...or they can be small things like fresh flowers, fresh water, healthy food, a bed that is so cozy you can't wait to get into it, the perfect cup of coffee, having a good hair day, or perhaps seeing a young child giggle.  

I invite you to look for any beam of sunshine (anything that you are grateful for, or that makes you happy) that breaks through those storm clouds and hang onto it. Find that lightness, & let it wash over you, and fill the space between your thoughts & your drama.

And then, repeat: direct your thoughts towards gratitude.
Over and over again.

Throughout your days, your weeks, when you wake up, whenever you remember to, and whether there are storm clouds hovering, or you're amazingly happy, there is always enough time to think about what you're thankful for.  

And just see how things begin to shift.

Do you notice any difference in your mental state after you think about 5 things you are grateful for?

Whenever I do this, I can't help but feel happier & lighter and amazed at how lucky I am to have all this abundance & all these amazing things I'm grateful for.  The definition of happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being, and in my experience, listing or thinking about what I'm grateful for puts me into a mental state of well-being.

For example, I was waiting in line for an almond milk latte last weekend, and an older man was waiting beside me, by the espresso machine. He glanced over, saw my smile when the barista handed me my drink,  and he grinned and said to me "only someone who truly enjoys & appreciates coffee understands this moment: the moment the perfect coffee arrives in your hand." Spot on, mister.

I had actually just been thinking about what a lovely day it was, and how lucky I was to spend it in the sunshine with my love and what a treat it was to get a super yummy coffee. I was, without intentionally thinking about it, bursting with gratitude for each of these things, and apparently it showed in the giant smile on my face.

Now believe me, I'm no master at this. I am simply doing my best at PRACTICING gratitude.  I realize and know personally, that it is much much easier to let gratitude flow through you when you are having a great day, or a wonderful experience.

But I can also tell you from experience, that if you can take a time-out from your less desired experience and bring your attention towards the good things in your life, it will make you happier, even if it's just for a few moments. But most often, those few moments are enough to shift the clouds and give you a bit of a broader perspective. 

So Happy THANKS-GIVING friends! Here's... 

5 Things I'm Grateful For Right Now:

  1. My guy. He has been unwaveringly, the most supportive & devoted & encouraging person I've ever met, who has just so much love spilling out of him.  He is unmatched in his patience, and also his ability to make me laugh.Seriously, every day I laugh so much. So grateful.
  2. My Family. Throughout the good & the bad, I can honestly say that I have learned so much from each of my experiences, and can see the amazing qualities that each person in my family has and how they have helped me on my way.  I am so grateful to be so close to my family.
  3. My Teachers. All of them. There are the teachers that helped me find my yoga practice:  no matter what else is going on in my life, or how long it's been, my yoga practice has always been there to support me. It helps me de-stress, and allows me to feel more grounded in my relationships & my interactions. It is a path inwards. Words cannot express my thanks for your guidance and support. And then there are the ones I'll call my "Life Teachers," some of whom were also my yoga teachers, and others are simply people I was lucky enough to cross paths with. These teachers helped me connect to my truest self, and the light within, and encouraged and inspired me to follow it. And of course there are the Macrobiotic and natural health teachers that I learn from each and every day. For all these teachers that have helped me on this journey, I am forever grateful. Heart-exploding-outta-my-chest kind of grateful.
  4.  The Dainty Pig. I am so grateful to have a space to experiment & create and chit-chat & share. Whether people are reading (thank you - so grateful for you, dear readers!) or not, I feel so lucky for this space to share my interest in Macrobiotics (something i'm so grateful for discovering) and living a healthy BIG life. Part of living a BIG life is being grateful, and working on this blog helps me connect to gratitude each and every time I log-in.
  5. Nature. T & I have recently moved to Victoria, and living here makes it even easier to connect to awe-inspiring Nature. Don't get me wrong though, we went for walks pretty much everyday in the River Valley in Edmonton & loved and appreciated it. But right now the ocean is so so so soothing, and just what I need. The air is soooo fresh. I fall in love with new flowers and animals everyday (hi there racoons & hummingbirds). The colours, smells, sights & sounds of Nature out here are truly divine.

And of course there are my amazing friends who bring so much joy, laughter, ridiculous jokes, and love into my life. For all your kindness, support, generosity, and inspiration, I am truly grateful. You all rock my socks off. 

And we all know that I am a lover of simple things, so each day I am grateful for: pretty pottery, wooden spoons, sunshiney window nooks, crusty bread, cute animals - especially pugs that snuffle when they walk, healthy natural food, fresh water, fresh air, a healthy body, warm socks, and of course...that moment when the perfect coffee arrives in your hand.


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 What are you grateful for, right NOW? 

{p.s., I am actually substantially happier than I was before writing this post: I am a firm believer in the ability to create happiness with your thoughts!}