Happiness Project

We have to Practice Gratitude. Ugh. I know. It can sound “played-out”. I’ve heard it in every yoga class, too. But seriously, that’s why I adore yoga… if someone keeps saying it to me in just the right way, at some point I’ll understand it. There was one instruction that always seemed to be missing, or I just wasn't listening...but either way, I realized I needed to practice actually feeling gratitude.

So once that epiphany hit, fostering Practice felt more attainable. I don’t feel gratitude on accident. Don’t get me wrong, I am endlessly grateful for all the love and support in my life…but on a regular, run-through-my-day basis? Sometimes I get caught doing all the things and, well, running through my day! I have to purposely PAUSE and clear my mind-table and then focus on something I appreciate in life. There is gold in that practice part. That, my friends, is where the juice is at.

It’s a rush of everything yummy. That feeling when someone gives you the most unexpectedly thoughtful, perfect-for-you gift…grateful to be loved, heard, seen, known. That feeling after an accident when you realize you are OK…grateful for to be alive, safe, held. That feeling you get when you get promoted or awarded…grateful to be given opportunities, guidance, support. Through receiving, we have a chance to see and love ourselves how others do.

You know what else feels exactly the same to me? Giving.

That feeling you get when you help a stranger, feed someone who is hungry, hold a hand that is alone…grateful for being such a gift of this planet that you can genuinely be of service to others through nothing else but your heart. It’s really the best, right? It echoes a sensational resonance of feeling loved, valued, honored, and humbled all at once.

That feeling runs through the body, nourishing every cell, but can just as quickly get buried beneath the to-do lists, daily tasks, obligations. Yet, the memory is still vibrating in your physical body. And all it takes to feel it again is remembering.

I personally need structure to have discipline. And if we are creating a practice, discipline is at the very core of its authenticity. So my structure is to check-in with a journal each day. I don’t hold myself to a Top 5 Things I’m Grateful For list, although also a wonderful idea. I sit down and think of one interaction or sentiment; then I write about it for a few lines. Once a few words splash onto the page, I reconnect to the story, and then close my eyes and genuinely try to recreate every detail in my mind's eye so I can feel it again.

Once you find the thing, the person, the situation, the kind-hearted moment--close your eyes and relive the story. Play it over in your mind and feel the rush of gratitude washing through your body. Simply settle into that feeling and allow yourself to experience it again. Feel the smile on your face, the fullness in your heart, the release of your belly, throat, face. Boom! You’ve just put in a Gratitude practice sesh. No big deal. And you got to feel good in the process. My body LOVES that feeling. I don’t want to rely on outside sources to be the only possibility of feeling "the feeling". If I practice remembering, I shower myself in that nourishment, love, and support all on my own. And the more used to it my mind and body get, the more naturally it will flow my way. It’s like raising vibrational standards. It’s not worth it to practice small anymore. And while I will still visit that territory, harnessing a practice in Gratitude has secured a pretty decent exit strategy.

Here’s the way I look at…

Pulling gratitude into your body is like tuning into the Abundance vibration. When I am busy appreciating, there’s less mind-body capacity to experience wanting/craving or compulsive sensations. I’d call this other end of the spectrum a Scarcity frequency. We see severe wanting express itself through a character like the super greedy business-owner who never looks like they “have enough”. That wanting vibe—it’s competitive, defensive, it would take your wallet if you left it.

I certainly don't want to live on that frequency, but the truth is, I do wantcertain things I don’t have. I have big dreams that I’d like to see come to fruition. And I also have less important goals, like drop that 5lbs I earned over Christmas. I want to believe and trust in my desires, but It is easy to get sucked under by the wanting feeling. And because it’s so easy, I would bet my brain has traveled that Scarcity loop for much longer roadtrips than the Gratitude loop. This state tends to outfit me in Anxiety and is not the best look.

Tuning into a different frequency...

When I notice static in my thoughts or life, I can pretty much assume my tuner is jammed on the Wanting station. How can I help myself not feel like I don’t have something?

By receiving something. Anything.

And I don’t mean go buy something. In a moment caught thinking about not having or being enough, they are only thoughts killing your vibe. So tuning into some higher vibe thoughts should be no less powerful.

So back to receiving. Think of anything you can remember receiving. I can think of hundreds of somethings I’ve received—gifts, opportunities, lessons, relationships, sweet moments. It is never too late to honor any of it, again and again and again. Voila, that’s how I start. Once I find “the thing”, and pull in the just-received-appreciated feeling, I practice staying there. I run it through my body like I’m drawing a map. Sensing, Tasting, Smelling, Experiencing, Remembering my way back to this space.
Practicing the feeling of gratitude, reminds me how to be. It reminds me I am not without. It reminds me of fulfilled desires. The more Gratitude Practice Reps I accumulate, the more time I get to spend in this nurturing environment. And here, I show up brighter in the world around me. Journaling is just one of the many ways to open a beautiful gratitude conversation. I don’t say this because I’m absolutely crushing this gratitude thing. I say it because I can totally suck at it sometimes. And I know, in my bones, the glaring difference. Thinking myself out of a dark spot doesn’t really work. Finding a way to feel good always wins…even if it takes a little mindful discipline to get there. As I mentioned before, my body LOVES the flavor of gratitude, so why not dose with little more of it? All it takes is me.