Happy Solstice! I hope you are enjoying this turning point in the balance of light and dark on our planet. I am so grateful for this amazing, beautiful planet we live on, aren’t you?
Think about it.
Think about all the sunrises and sunsets you have enjoyed; all of the lakes, oceans and rivers you have marveled at; all of the mountains you have climbed just to see the view from the top, and all the fields you have played in. Feel how deep those experiences run in you – how they truly help make you who you are.
How could you not be grateful?
And, if you do have difficulty feeling grateful for planet Earth, take a few minutes now to step to the window, or step outside, or even look at a photo from a favorite outdoor time or place of yours – with gratitude.
Now. Remember that you, as an individual, are part of this planet, just like the trees, the oceans, the deserts and every blade of grass. And as you are part of the planet, so is every one of your fellow human beings, as well as all the living creatures that accompany us on this journey around the sun.
Can you allow yourself to feel gratitude for your own existence? How about the existence of your loved ones, whether present or departed? How about for all the beings you have never met and may never meet?
Gratitude, dear reader, is as fundamental as breathing. It is as elemental as the play of light and dark.
Gratitude is part of who we are.
Gratitude, I believe, is not something you go out and find, or something you add to your life. Think of gratitude as what comes flowing out when you turn on a faucet in your heart. Open the faucet, and gratitude is there, waiting.
Then why can it feel so difficult sometimes to be grateful?
Well, we often get so caught up in the details of living, in the events of our lives and the judgements we make about our success and failure, our ups and downs, our twists and turns – that we forget.
If you have forgotten, remind yourself that gratitude is simple, and allow yourself to remember.
Lately I have been feeling incredibly grateful, not just in isolated moments, but continuously, for long periods of time. I look around, and I see so much to be grateful for. I look inside, and I feel so much to be grateful for.
Yes, there is much work to be done on our planet; there is much we can change. Sometimes, I feel that pain. But I do continue to feel gratitude anyway.
I realize that I didn’t experience a blinding flash that led to this state of ongoing gratitude. I didn’t sit down and meditate on gratitude for twenty-four hours straight. I just kept opening the faucet, a little bit every day, and felt the drips grow to a trickle, then to a stream, to a flow, to a gusher.
There are many gratitude exercises you could do to help you open the faucet. For more than a year, I have been doing one I got from Pam Grout, the author of “E-Squared” and “Thank and Grow Rich,” in which every day, at the end of my morning journaling session, I list three blessings in my life, three things I am grateful for. I try to think of different ones every day. And I do it nearly every single day, without fail.
Just three things.
In addition, as my feelings of gratitude have grown, I speak my gratitude out loud as it arises over the course of the day. I don’t force it; I just let it flow. That added power of giving voice to your gratitude is powerful.
So, I have found that gratitude is cumulative. It grows, wider and deeper. It picks up speed, and power; it transfers to others and it transforms lives.
Some people find it difficult to do at first, and that’s ok. If you struggle to think of something you are grateful for, that is actually useful information. Don’t judge yourself for it; just take note, and then continue. If you are breathing, you have something to feel grateful for.
And continue, without stopping, ever.
And at some point, you may realize there is more to be grateful for than you could ever list in a lifetime.
As the light turns a corner in the sky today, and the year draws to a close, I am grateful for you, dear reader.
What are you grateful for?
I honor your loving heart,