Gratitude is a choice. Truly, it is a choice. There are loads of people in the world who live with a lack mentality - constantly looking for the next thing to be achieved, earned, bought, or consumed. Then there are others who celebrate every day, find the blessings in the "small" things, and cherish each step along the journey. There are some in life who have had tremendous hardships, and have a very hard time finding things to be grateful for. To them, I would encourage them to find gratitude for what is inside: their resilience, their strength. And at the most basic- we can all be grateful for the sun shining and warming our souls and the rain nourishing the earth and our bodies.
Living in gratitude is similar to living in the moment. You have to be actively aware of what is around you at any given time so you might find the aspects of life that you appreciate. But why does it matter? Well, by being in a state of gratitude we increase our joy... it calms our minds, relaxes our hearts, and allows us to see the deep connected between all of us.
How do we find gratitude? Blocks to gratitude indicate a need for deeper healing... loss, trauma, past lives... all of this can cast a shadow over our ability to live in gratitude. For now, I would suggest starting with breath. Are you able to breathe without pain or support? That's pretty awesome. Are you able to move your body and walk to get a glass of clean water? That's incredible! Do you have a place where you can be physically, emotionally and/or mentally safe? That's wonderful! See where I am going here?
Play with this further:
sit back, take a deep breath, and think of something you are grateful for... this could be sunshine outside, food on your plate, clothes on your back, the love of another person or animal.... This gratitude you feel swells up to fill your heart and your environment.
Then expand outward one step - how does that thing connect to another person or place or thing?
How might that secondary connection be related to other people or places in your life?
Let's take 'love from an animal' as an example... First you start with the joy that you share with this animal, times you laughed or cried and they supported you, or cuddled... Then that shifts to thinking of how this animal came into your life - which introduces gratitude for the shelter/breeder/foster person(s) who provided the service for you or for many others. Now your mind goes not only to that person, but to all the rescuers out in the world helping animals.
Your gratitude grows like a network of neurons, a web cast by spiders, out across the earth's energetic field. slowly it moves from your heart to the space around you, firing outward to those you are connected to.... and the more you connect with the people/animals/plants/locations on earth that you have gratitude for, the more those areas show up secondary connections to other people you may have never met but who share your sentiments. And at this point, (speaking for myself) I sit back in awe of how I am not alone... that many people find gratitude for the very same things as me. My heart then expresses gratitude for them, for mirroring my joyous energy, and next thing I know, I see the world as a beautiful web of rainbow color. Most importantly, that gratitude is not only healing for you, but for the Earth and her many creatures.
What am I grateful for? So much. So very very much. But today, I feel most grateful for my teachers:
-my spiritual animal guides and the animal companions in my life
-my spirit guides, ancestors, and human who have helped me remember my spiritual wisdoms and gifts
-and my family - blood and chosen - for loving me in totality and allowing me to love them in return
Don't get me wrong, I love material goods that help me live a life of convenience and entertainment.... But materialism is not the only thing worth being grateful for... sometimes it is in a smile from a friend that reminds us we are loved, or the loud bizarre laugh of a stranger that reminds us to not take life so seriously, or the nuzzle of a sweet animal that reminds us we are not alone.
I am grateful to myself for showing up to this path of mystery and spirit, for doing the work inside so I might go out to help others. And I am grateful to you - for reading this, for supporting me, and for being uniquely you.
Much gratitude to you today, and everyday.