The Gratitude holiday, Thanksgiving, is upon us. Time for giving thanks. But just in case you are feeling a little low on appreciation, let’s make sure we are filled to the brim with gratitude before giving thanks. Don’t you just love the feeling of appreciation and gratitude? It really is an attitude, or state of being that feels warm and loving. So why do we need to be reminded with a holiday? I’m proposing that we live every day as a day of Thanksgiving as a mindfulness practice.
As a life coach for women, I truly recognize the duty and service that women offer to the world. They give endlessly to everyone – their children, spouses, parents, extended families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and organizations, too. Women are Divinely designed to give. And we are also designed to give thanks. But sometimes, because of all the giving, we can become so worn out, it’s can be hard to feel that warm, loving sense of gratitude. Instead, we may be feeling worried about someone or a situation, and not sure how to help.
If you are having trouble feeling grateful in the midst of all the cooking, cleaning, planning, and caring for others, here are some mindfulness practices to reconnect you with your grateful heart, your divine right to an attitude of gratitude, no matter what is happening around you.
First, we want to give ourselves permission to BE grateful for no reason whatsoever. That’s right, just be grateful because you choose to be. Whenever we try to attach the feeling of appreciation and gratitude to an event, it loses it’s spaciousness and expansiveness. The real sense of gratitude is a warm feeling in the heart, an acceptance and love for all that is – regardless of what you perceive as good or bad in the outside world. So for example, we may have many problems or none at all, but we can recognize the experience of appreciation for a cold drink of water or a breath of fresh air. It’s the practice of BEING that we are grateful for. The moments when we can feel truly alive and present, without judgment or concerns. So at any moment you can give this to yourself. At any moment you can enter the state of being by just appreciating a single breath or noticing the freedom of a movement, feeling the energy within your body.
Usually, we are prone to feel grateful when we are out in nature. We see the beauty and it transports us into a state of just being and appreciating. Give this to yourself every day. Revel in the sunrise or sunset, feel the sun on your back, or the breeze in your hair, whatever is present is a reason to feel appreciation. When I engaged as a life coach for women I often suggest a visit to a beautiful spot in nature, which can bring you back to the grateful state effortlessly.
So many times, we feel anything but grateful because of some challenge we face. An illness, financial worries, relationship problems. By switching your focus to the mindfulness practice of being grateful for the very simplest of experiences, you can cultivate and reconnect with a grateful heart. Being here and now, take a long slow breath in and out, simply noticing the air movement and the relaxation that comes with a relaxing breath. Focus your attention on your heart and begin to breath in and out of the heart area. Allow yourself to feel the aliveness in your heart and imagine great warmth and light there. As you do, bring to mind something that you feel true appreciation and gratitude for. It could be someone you love, or something natural like your favorite place in the mountains or beach. When you experience that feeling of appreciation, keep expanding it and nurturing it until it is full and rich and wonderful in the heart area. This is an attitude of gratitude – no matter what is going on in the world. Give this to yourself. Revel in the feeling. You will begin to feel so full and blessed, that you will know you have much to give and much to give thanks for.
Blessings for a Thanksgiving of Mindfulness Practices for Gratitude!