I’m back from retreat at Esalen, on the Big Sur coast (more on that coming soon, with pictures!).
Here’s this week’s guest post, the sixth in the Gratitude Practice series. I am so honored and humbled by the gratitude stories that are being shared. There is still room for *your* article, darling! This series runs until the end of this year. Do you have a gratitude practice? Please share your story… More details here.
Today I welcome Christi Jarland, whose message is “…about trusting in the deep joy that is already in us, and allowing that to make our lives take the turn we are looking for. Gratitude for everything, all of it….” You can read her blog here.
Through a stroke of serendipity I ran across Sue’s post and was so excited about the message she’s carrying to the world about gratitude. In the same 24 hours that I read her post, I received two other pointed examples of people openly sharing their gratitude practice. Given the triple crown of beautiful gratitude being shared, I was nudged to participate in her invitation to write about daily gratitude.
On and off I have carried a daily practice of writing out gratitudes for the day. I did this more in the beginning of awareness and as a desire to change. It was part of many things that have created a magical transformation in how I look at life. It’s actually hard to tell anymore if the gratitude made the change or the change made gratitude easier.
What I do know is that now I rarely do a written, studied, bulleted list, sometimes drumming my fingers, trying to come up with a set number of things to write each day, like I did at the beginning. Now it flows through my experience like water. The smallest things light up those centers in my brain and I can smile, even on the suckiest of days, at the little spurt of gratitude I find in noticing ALL things that are part of my experience.
In the midst of overwhelm, frustration or exhaustion, gratitude can get an eye roll when I talk to people about it. It’s often hard to explain the different sheen life takes on when you allow the gratitude to seep in. It softens the rough edges.
There is always something to smile and fling gratitude towards. When it is part of the river of your experience, it isn’t just about giving big thanks to the Universe when the promotion comes through, your child is healthy, or the bills are paid. While those are important, the kind of gratitude practice I’m talking about is subtle and takes very little effort. It’s just part of how you roll.
Here’s how it’s looked so far today:
- The shape of my little guy’s sleeping mouth.
- The deep, cool, moist lungful of air in the thick fog on our walk this morning.
- The scent of someone’s dryer sheet being carried on the breeze.
- The appearance of a Haiku popping into my brain. (I know, I’m weird.)
- The little pop in my mouth of the blueberries in the oatmeal.
- The deep, deep relaxation found at the end of yoga.
- One of my favorite songs coming up on Pandora.
- The double hibiscus blooms wiggling on the wind.
- The tidiness of my recently cleaned house.
As I finish writing this, it’s only noon. The above experiences of appreciation were not me sitting around yearning for a gratitude moment. They are just there, floating through my day. I didn’t do much to make them happen, except expect that there is always something for which to be grateful.
Now, this may paint a picture of me sitting around navel gazing and meditating on what I can find to appreciate. I won’t say I don’t do that sometimes. However, all of the above were in the midst of laundry, organizing a grocery list, procrastinating going to the grocer, finishing up some loose ends in my work and having a moment of being irritated with a family situation.
We’re all human, and have those things in our days that we’d rather not. I’m just saying don’t focus on ONLY those things. There’s so much more. Widen your gaze and see the sparkling bits in the river of your life. Begin with gratitude for the little bits of wonderful, and you might someday (gasp) find gratitude in the big hard bits and the lessons they bring.
And now, I really should go get those groceries, and be grateful for the little store with the lovely produce.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to share, Sue.
Hey there, I’m Christi Jarland , mentor and gratitude finder at Figure It Out with CJ. I am a passionate, creative and intuitive supporter of women ready to get rid of overwhelm and frustration. When not awakening women to the beauty residing within and around them, I can be found making amazing things appear in my kitchen or walking in the sunshine. Oh, you can also find me on Facebook. I love creating community and deep conversation about the truly important things.