A gratitude practice, leveled-up.
The short story is, my spouse and I have moved and are currently in-between homes. We don’t feel homeless, we actually feel like we have returned home. Be that as it may, all our stuff is in long-term storage and I am learning a lot about what it is that I really need. The longer story about this is here.
Something that has been helping me greatly with this time of extended transition and change (some would call it upheaval, chaos, but I prefer adventure…?) is appreciation. Not simply as a concept, but as an actual physical practice.
I have in the past kept a gratitude journal, and you are likely familiar with the concept. But somewhere along the way I stopped the writing-down. (This happened waaaay before packing up everything for storage, by the way.)
Funny thing, I have discovered that it’s easy to forget to be appreciative when I’m not specifically tending to it…
So I am back to a daily gratitude journal practice of actually writing it down. BUT — with a leveled-up twist that I recently learned. One that is making a huge difference in my practice, and therefore my life.
You are likely familiar with how a gratitude journal works: write down three things a day that you are grateful for, that you appreciate.
For example: I am grateful that we have storage for our packed-up home. I appreciate my job and colleagues. I am grateful that we are not living in our vehicles.
The kicker is to make these things that we list more specific. So specific, actually, that they fit the suggested practice of three new ones a day, that do not repeat.
(You are probably also familiar with this aspect; this is not the leveled-up piece yet.)
Okay, I can still be grateful for my general examples I used, but I can also take this deeper.
For example: I am grateful for the beauty of the sun shining off of the male pine grosbeak’s red feathers that I saw out the window. I appreciate that my spouse deferred to me to choose the movie to stream tonight. I am grateful that I made great and smooth progress on my work project today.
And now, for the leveled-up twist:
I learned this upgrade from Kathy Magnusson of Wildewood Learning, in a class session of hers about mental health, wellness, and resilience. Here’s the masterclass move with our gratitude journals:
Now, for each entry, write what you did — what your contribution was — to the situation, event, or item that you are grateful for.
Okay, sticking with my specific examples from earlier:
- I am grateful for the beauty of the sun shining off of the male pine grosbeak’s red feathers that I watched out the window. And for my pausing in my business to stop, notice, and continue absorbing this until he flew away.
- I appreciate that my spouse graciously let me decide our movie to stream tonight. And for me allowing myself to receive the gift tonight, rather than easily saying, “Oh, I’m good with either, what would YOU like to watch?”
- I am grateful that getting farther along with my work project went so smoothly today. And that I closed my email tab and shut my phone off, in order to fully attend to it this afternoon.
Do you see what’s happening here? Can you feel the bonus?
Not only do we pay attention to what is going well in our lives, we also see how we help to shape it.
Gratitude is not only giving thanks for the meal, it’s noticing what we are bringing to the table.
Are you grateful in your own life for this idea? Also appreciate that you took the time to read this whole piece!
What three things are you grateful for in your day so far? What is your contribution to each one, that you can also appreciate?
Thank you to everyone who has been attending my community education classes on various energy-work pathways! I encourage you to check out your own local community ed — consider both taking classes and teaching something that you love! When we share who we are and what we enjoy, everybody benefits. I have an upcoming Clutter Clearing two-session class, and am teaching Reiki classes this spring. If you are interested and will be in northern MN, we would love to see you there!
gina drellack is the author of This Time, Glide: Stop Struggling for Success and Start Achieving through Ease and Joy, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Balboa Press. She is also a contributing author to Animals: Personal Tales of Encounters with Spirit Animals, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sacred Stories.