What we appreciate, appreciates.
~ Kelly Bryson, Language of Compassion
I am Overcome with Gratitude
As I mentioned in my last entry, I have found my purpose and doors are opening up for me. When I consider this along with all that I have, I feel deep gratitude. I am so thankful that I have had immense support from friends, family, and professionals to overcome obstacles in my life. I am so thankful that I am healthy — mentally, emotionally, spiritually, “relationshipally”, and physically…I am so thankful for Katie Pierce and the dynamic, heart-ful, life-enriching partnership we experience daily…And I am grateful beyond measure for the gift of life. It is frankly amazing to be conscious of the world’s beauty and mystery. Whoa!
Joy Shared is Multiplied
When we share our gratitude, it grows! I remember a board meeting I chaired several years ago. The organization was going through challenges and the board’s morale was low so I decided to inject some gratitude into the meeting. The organization and the board had a great deal to be thankful for. However, due to the culture of the organization (and our culture at large), we were not celebrating all the things that were going well in the world. We were focused on getting work done and “trouble-shooting” anything that way blocking our progress.
I began by telling the group how pleased I was to be part of the board and cited specific examples of behaviors from the board and staff that contributed to my own and the organization’s well-being. After a pause, each member reflected on their own gratitudes and shared them. The heaviness that hung in the room like a fog lifted as each person shared from the heart. We shifted from a focus on what was not working to appreciating all that was going well. This attitude carried over into the meeting and made it much more enjoyable and productive.
Develop a Daily Practice
At the end of March of this year, I attended a keynote speech by Flagstaff-based motivational speaker, Burt Gershater. Of the many gems he offered, one that stuck with me is his view on gratitude. He said that gratitude feel so good that he gets “stoned” when he’s in touch with all that he’s grateful for. Then he lamented that others who are not in touch with this feeling attempt to get “stoned” using less healthy strategies. Burt went on to share his daily practice of gratitude — morning gratitude walks (Here’s a Youtube video from him that provides more about his practice).
My wife, Katie, and I have a bed-time practice of naming where we saw “goodness” in ourselves and each other. We reflect on the day and bring to mind things that we’ve done or said that we are pleased about. It helps us transition from the busy-ness of the day into a relaxed state that flows into sleep. After attending Burt’s presentation, I suggested we add a morning gratitude ritual to our routine. Now we start the day remembering all that we are grateful for and sharing those gratitudes with each other. It’s a great way to start a great day!