Although we do not see each other often, we keep abreast of each other's lives through the magic of social media. I am so pleased she agreed to share her most recent intentional practice: gratitude. I am grateful for YOU Shula!
What am I grateful for?I am grateful for formal gratitude practice.
I post a statement about what I am grateful for to my Facebook status every night before bed. I remember the times when I had tried gratitude in the past. When I was feeling low, I’d make a list of “good” things in my life, things for which I should be grateful, and then I’d tell myself, “Look, you should be grateful!” and then berate myself for not feeling any better.
After some time practicing, as the hours move toward bedtime, thoughts of gratitude have started coming on their own. Sometimes they show up at random during the day. Feelings and sensations come with them that make the experience more vivid. When something happens in the moment and I’m grateful for it, the sense of it comes more fully.Now that I’m awake to all that, spontaneous expressions of gratitude arise for me to share with people in the moment. The quality of my days and of my experience of living have changed. More joy, pleasure, ease and appreciation flow through me, even in the midst of difficult happenings. I feel low less often, and when I do, I can pause, place a gentle hand on my heart, and feel grateful for the ability to do just that. After all, that’s what I need when I’m feeling low! (I have yet to see an effect on my sleep, but at this point, who cares??!!)
Expressing gratitude directly to someone about something they have done is easy for me. I'm giving them feedback about how they have contributed to making life more wonderful for me. The effect my gratitude practice has had on others surprised me. I started doing it via social media because I wanted accountability. But what I offered to myself has become a giving. I still feel shy about acknowledging that. Accepting that this thing I do for myself is of benefit to others is the next frontier of my practice. I’m sitting with the shyness, and grateful for it.