Having just wrapped up a successful 200-hour teacher training, I am finding it easy to be grateful for so many things.
I am grateful to the two amazing women, Ellen and Sarah (owners of Blue Bird Yoga in St. Charles), with whom I co-taught this training. I love how we sync up with each other in fun and funny ways. I am grateful for their knowledge, strength, honesty, and kindness.
I am grateful to all the trainees that entrusted their learning to us as they undertook this great goal.
I am grateful to the teachers and staff who subbed for me, were patient with me, and who supported me in kind ways.
I am grateful to my mom, who brought me dinner on occasions because she knew I was exhausted and didn’t want me eating “junk”.
It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. But what happens when things take a shift and the world isn’t quite so sunshiny and bright?
It’s not a secret that last year was a hard year for me. Taking on a new business and experiencing new situations in my personal life all happened at once, and the toll of it all weighed heavily. I’ve always had a practice of saying things I am grateful for in the morning when I wake and at night before bed, but during that time of difficulty I needed more than this practice.
So, I began a gratitude journal in which I would write things daily for which I was grateful. When I ask teachers, students, friends what they are grateful for, most often the answers are the big things in our lives: family, friends, roof over my head, pets, etc. But according to science those things will only get you so far. Don't get me wrong, those things are great – but a journal can’t be sustained writing those things day after day.
In an article on happify.com, the author suggests, “Opening your eyes to more of the world around you can deeply enhance your gratitude practice. Make a game out of noticing new things each day.” So that is what I did.
In addition to my morning and night routine, as I would go about my days, I would do so with the intention of continuously finding 3 things for which I could be grateful. And what I found was amazing – I noticed things I had not before. I started catching myself smiling at things that I saw and of which I was not even a part: someone dropping something and another person picking it up for them; two people holding hands and leaning into one another; two bunnies sitting on the sidewalk nose to nose as if they were sharing a secret; the sun glistening through the trees; green lights on a road where I usually get stopped at every light; the songs of birds; a breeze on my face; a smile from a stranger.
The cool thing is, on days when I went out with this purpose, I seemed to float. I felt light and joyful. Nothing much got to me, even during hard moments. And things that had been bothering me, things that had nothing to do with the moment I was in, I was able to let go of those things too. We are hardwired for negativity; it’s in our DNA. But research shows that even after just a month of keeping a gratitude journal, we will more readily lean into the good, see more of the good. From this, we become happier and healthier. Seems too simple, right? But in my experience, it is the simple things in life that make all the difference. Give it a try, what do you have to lose? Better yet, what do you have to gain?
Looking for a guided meditation on gratitude? Check this out: Guided Meditation: Gratitude Body Scan
Peace and Love,