Every day we have moments filled with things in our lives to be grateful for.
Test it out for one day, for one afternoon or for just one hour; Set the intention to notice the moments you are grateful for. Then, as you go along say “thank you” for everyone of those moments, being as specific or none specific as you like – saying out loud or just inwards, and see how it feel s during or your hour, afternoon, day. It is literally counting the blessings we have, no matter how our life looks, as we go along.
I have tried keeping a gratitude journal as I have read and also heard from a lot of friends and collegues that it really does work. It is a beautiful thing to take that moment at the end of the day, to sit down with your pen and notebook and note down 3 things that you experienced during that day that you are grateful for. It works wonders! But for me, that gratitude journal just turned into something else that had to be done every day – another thing on the list and on the pile. One more thing staring me in the face before I went to bed that still called out needed to be completed… I am pretty sure that is not the intention of a gratitude journal (unless you actually start with your number 1 point for that day being “I am grateful that I have this gratitude journal I have to sit down and list what I am grateful for right now” )!
This morning I woke up, my whole body aching after actually having done too much physical work this week (yes, this happens to a yoga teacher as well ), knowing that I could not go attend the lesson from my collegue in Amsterdam that I had so long been looking forward to due to the fact that I simply could not pay for the train ride and I decided right there and then to not do a very long heavy practice this morning but a soft one, a loving practice for myself as my whole system was aching for it.
I had three hours planned for practice this morning and was looking forward to it.
As I was rolling my mat out, lighting my candles, getting my meditation space set up, the beautiful gift of a husky in my life called Akasha came to greet me. She sat down, licked my face and then turned around asking for a massage. As I started massaging her spine, it was like I was releasing my own knots and then I realized that she was helping me to do this. She lay down so that I could massage her hind legs and in that moment I felt my own legs getting less sore simultaneously. Even my feet had been aching when I woke up and that was slowly diminishing as I was keeping one sole of my foot touching hers and as we switched sides for the leg massage I switched foot as well. We spent a good half hour there in the hallway, and every breath we took together was full of gratitude. Her gratitude towards me, which I felt and saw in her eyes for the massage, for caring for her and Elsa (the other husky living with us), for my husband and I sharing our lives with them. My gratitude towards her for everything she was teaching me about exactly gratitude in that very moment – and out of that I felt a gratitude even deeper growing for the fact that I am a human lucky enough to experience what is like living with an animal. The deeper my gratitude got, the thinner the (imagined) boundary between me and this being right in front of me became. What she taught me this morning was that trough the gratitude we can feel in the present moment we are all beings in this together – man, mountain, animal, sea, tree…. And wow, that truly is something to be grateful for!
So with less time on my hands, and for the first time in my whole 40 year old life not caring about that fact, I went to my yoga space for my practice.
I spent a very long time with a roll under my shoulder blades, releasing those shoulders and exhaling into every place that needed release and space – this time with gratitude for what it was teaching me, instead of with recognition of what I had done “wrong” or “too much” for my body to feel that way.
Then an even longer time in meditation – and the fact that the window had to stay open due to the heat and I live on the street where all the buses run through did not even bother me. I was surrendering. Big time.
A few soft kriya’s later I was still in heaven.
And grateful for it!