909th Week: More Gratitude Practice
Walking across Central Park this morning, I was filled to overflowing with gratitude for all the years I had the privilege of soaking in the beauty, the life-giving vitality, and the spirit of this wonderful place each and every morning on my way to my office. This brought me again to the importance of noticing and experiencing gratitude. As I walked on familiar pathways, the presence of gratitude filled and inspired me.
This experience returns me to an awareness of the importance of gratitude as a frequency we can constantly bring into our lives, and of the health-affirming quality it conveys. I have an active and ongoing relationship with gratitude and I find it supports me during challenging experiences. An example is when I had some rather extensive dental surgery a week ago. After about an hour of what turned out to be a two-hour process, I found myself orienting to what I call the spirit of gratitude. You might think of it as the essence of gratitude, or the frequency of gratitude. I oriented to experiencing the presence and quality of gratitude to help myself continue to be settled and at ease in the chair. I found that choosing to resonate with this essence made all the difference in my ability to remain calm and gratefully open to the help I was receiving.
For this week’s practice, I invite you to find, in the course of the coming week, many moments to be aware of gratitude. You may already have a gratitude practice and, if you do, use this practice to increase the number of times you express your gratitude. You may discover gratitude in some unexpected places when you look for it, even as you may find yourself reinforcing an awareness of gratitude that is already alive and present in your experience.
As you explore this practice, I also invite you to notice a few things. First, notice what you experience in your body when you resonate with the frequency of gratitude. What sensations arise? Where in your body do you experience gratitude? Next, notice the quality of your emotional experience when you orient to gratitude. What is your most noticeable feeling? Then, what do you notice in your mental aspect of being? What’s the quality of your self-talk and the flow of your thoughts? Do you notice that when you resonate with gratitude your perceptual map orients to certain things and not to others?
I’ve said so many times that the frequencies with which we resonate—in our thoughts, actions, and the focus of our attention—really matter in terms of the quality of our internal life. So, another aspect of this practice is to pay attention to the overall quality and tone of your whole body-mind being when you move through your days accompanied by the ready presence of gratitude.
As with all these practices, please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, allowing them to move on through without your having to do anything about them. Also, please make room for any mixed feelings that may arise, as this is a way to honor the complexity of your wholeness.
Here’s a recorded version of this practice, if you’d prefer to listen to it…