By Carmen Greger
Look around you. I’m willing to bet there are at least a handful of obvious things for which you can and should be grateful, as you scan even your most immediate scenery, without having to apply too much creative effort. Do keep in mind, however, that there are also many not visibly apparent, but we must not exclude those components from our personally curated collection of appreciations.
Your home, the food on your table, your family, your partner, your friends, your pets, your car, the stylish clothes you wear, your body, your brain, the beautiful arrangement of fall flowers on your Thanksgiving Buffet, tennis courts, the trophy you won in highschool that displays itself so confidently on your bookshelf, sports radio, dark chocolate, aromatherapy, beeswax candles, the beach, movie theaters, great restaurants, your beauty, fine art, your chickens who proudly give you their ‘sustainably sourced’ eggs freshly direct from your backyard coup, all of your senses, and the physical structures they are attributed to (eyes/sight, nose/smell, ears/ hearing, tongue/taste, neuro-receptors/touch), the letter a loved one wrote to you before passing on, your wedding ring.
Unseen/Intangible/Beyond Visual (Invisible)
Your job, your faith, your upbringing, your family traditions, the way Gramma Gerty used to braid your hair and now braids your daughter’s hair in similar fashion, the positively impactful book you read in 5th grade that suggested destruction, but was more like a construction, inspiring and encouraging freedom of speech in an uprising of censorship and an implementation of healthier ideals, the priceless words of wisdom from your mentor, your good health, your struggles with health which inspired and stimulated the surfacing of your vast community to collectively present themselves to stand by and serve you with infinite and integrative support, your sons, your sons having sons, shared stories, sweet traditions, authentic and unshakable love, self-respect, education, the right to vote, your young age, your vitality at an advancing age.
Positive and negative past experiences often have ‘hidden blessings’ that appear in their own time, way beyond their original presentation and the corresponding meaning we gave them in context at the time of their initial occurrence. Oftentimes, patience, presence and perseverance as experiences unfold can offer new insight, understanding and significant shifts in perspective.
How can you reframe a situation that occurred in your personal history that was unfavorable at the time, and still, overall may have shed new light that otherwise may have not been seen? What blessings can you see now from those moments; What opportunities were ushered in with the obstacles? What positives were born from that event?
I dare not suggest that you live in denial of past hardships, traumas and tragedies, nor do I wish to encourage you to live in a warped reality where there are no negatives on the daily, simply by default of your refusal of their existence, but what I have witnessed, personally, professionally and among friends and colleagues, and know deep in my heart to be true, is that you do get more of what you focus on.
That said, I invite you to focus on, honor, and give thanks for your blessings, the ones you see and the ones you don’t but now know are there, the ones that came in disguise and the ones that have thankfully made you who you are today…. and when you nurture them with your attention, intention, energy and respect, then, like little seeds of the oak tree, they will grow deep, big and beautiful, and likely stronger and steadier than any storm that may come your way.
Here’s the fun part…. Take out a blank piece of paper or got to a blank screen on your device, (just keeping it real and user friendly here) and write improv style … just pen to page, fingers to keys or thumbs to buttons… write what you are grateful for; list your blessings; be creative; they’re there, even if you have to play a little seek and find. For 60-300 seconds, write. Read the list (preferably aloud, but silently will do) and say: Thank You. Maybe even make a call, or write a letter to a friend, a family member, a mentor and simply say, “Thank You”.
‘Gratitude turns what we have into enough’ in that given moment, and our knowing that there are always hidden treasures beneath the surface, and that our universe is a kind, loving abundant one, we nurture and give thanks for the positives, great and small, that we do currently have, realize and embrace within the days, moments, people and experiences within our lives. When Gratitude Expands, Blessings Grow.
If you are having difficulty coming up with things to express gratitude for, try using a technique I’ve adapted from one of my mentors long ago:First, imagine something or someone that offers you safety, security, love, vitality, encouragement, comfort, peace, serenity…. Feel into those feelings and consciously amplify them. Now imagine if that something or someone was not in your life. Feel and name the distance between the being and the not being present in your life and you will become aware that within this stretch of distance, rest the seeds of infinite gratitude. Each night before bed, mentally list and consciously acknowledge three blessings in your life that were apparent in your life that day.
Plant the seeds of gratitude daily and watch them grow exponentially.
Here’s to your conscious cultivation of a beautiful, bountiful life rooted in gratitude.