“Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.” – Kak Sri You’re struggling to be grateful every day. Right? You know you should be grateful. You’ve been told to count your blessings. You’ve been …
I took a moment. I could feel my chest. My heart was racing. What’s wrong with me? It didn’t make sense. I was 27 years old, healthy, had a good job, loving parents, great friends, involved in the community, and the list keeps going.
Yet, as I lay on my bed at 2am, overwhelmed by my life, I knew something was wrong. It was as if, the world had been handed to me, and I had no soul. From a logical standpoint my life was great, but my heart showed otherwise. Why can’t I appreciate? Why do I feel this? Why do I hate my life?
Discovering how to live in and with gratitude has exploded onto the personal development scene. Many of us have cultivated a deep and intimate knowledge of things for which we are grateful. This is a tremendous step towards developing a positive life. Even so, maybe its time we turned our gratitude inside out and gave it more of a real world voice.
We’ve all probably come across the idea of keeping gratitude journals, using affirmations about gratitude, and so on. Many of us work very, very hard at being grateful, at being aware of all mercies small and large. Many of us begin and end our days with written or prayerful litanies of instance after instance, person after person for which we give thanks.
These are all good things, but having made a place for gratitude to live in our hearts, minds and souls, we’re then offered an opportunity. We can lose sight of the fact that all good things in our lives have specific sources. Many people do things large and small that make our dreams, wishes, and affirmations possible. It’s far too easy to treat gratitude like a spiritual coin to be put in a cosmic vending machine, with the actual process all too often taken for granted.
“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice” – Meister Eckhart
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.
Recently I had my first golf lesson with a professional golfer. Now, this is not the first time that I had played golf – I picked up a golf club for the first time approximately 9 months ago and subsequently played on and off with friends. I studied a few golf books and received a few good tips from my friends, but frustration finally sent me in search of professional help.
At the lesson, the first thing I did was hit some golf balls whilst the coach watched. Then, he told me this: “first, we are going to work on the 4 fundamentals of golf: grip, stance, posture, and alignment”. If you think about each of them – grip, stance, posture, and alignment – you can imagine why it was that I did not hit too many golf balls in that first lesson. The swing – that all important element that is the final determinant of how the ball is hit – would not be the focus until I had the fundamentals under control.