I cannot believe that this is already the October Newsletter-Blog, can you? By the way, this month you will have to hang on tight, because I will only publish this one. I am starting my level 2 Kundalini Yoga teacher training, and the dates just happen to coincide with any second edition I had in planning.
So, I am packing 2 subjects into this Newsletter – but bear with me, because you will see that they are related, and make sense to contemplate together:
Appreciation, gratitude & thinking outside the box
It occurred to me just yesterday that even though I meditate daily, and I trained myself really hard to not think in societal norms, or be influenced by mass media, judgements, bigotry and such… I still was thinking in boxes!
Life however, overlaps. It’s not just black or white, round or square… nana, it’s not. There are colours and shades of each colour; there are many artistic shapes as well as the traditional ones; there are men, women and transgender; there is homosexual and heterosexual, asexual and metrosexual… You see, life is not just A or B. It’s also all the other stuff.
My question to you is – how much do you appreciate what you have, or sense feelings of gratitude, and in just how much do these give you grounds to think differently about Your Life?
Appreciation & Gratitude
First things first.
Appreciation and gratitude are not the same!
Emotionally the may feel similar, or even identical, but gratitude includes a certain extra edge.
Appreciation can just be a full understanding of a situation. It can also be enjoyment, or recognising the good qualities in something.
Appreciating a gesture or a circumstance.
You appreciate if you receive help, support, love or a gift, for example.
If you say that appreciation is ephemeral, then gratitude is something deeper.
When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.
Gratitude is an attitude
More than an attitude, it’s a choice in life.
Tony Robbins, one of the world’s leading life coaches, has spent decades empowering people to live the lives they want. Do you know what his very simple but effective recommendation is?
Start your day with gratitude!
Three easy to fit in minutes, stating three things you are grateful for.
The reason he starts with gratitude, Robbins explains, is because of its ability to overpower the dangerous emotions that can side-track us.
“The two emotions that mess us up the most are fear and anger, and you can’t be grateful and fearful simultaneously. They don’t go together,” Robbins says.
You cannot be angry and grateful simultaneously.
Which one would you rather be?
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
The question is in the glass
Is your glass half full or half empty, is not a trick question! It can determine whether you appreciate what you have, or go crazy about what you don’t.
Just try it for 40 days (that’s how long it takes to break a habit): choose coming from gratitude as your primary choice in life.
In the next 40 days, choose finding gratitude in what you have or see, where you are, or the situation you are stuck with.
What is positive about that situation?
What can you appreciate about the circumstance you are in?
What do you have right there?
What makes life great in that exact second?
Why are you grateful that you are stuck in that moment?
Remember also the one thing: if you cannot (absolutely no chance) of finding anything (not the slightest thing) to find gratitude in (such is the mocked-up situation) then at least (the very thing you can do) appreciate what you have learnt.
You can always learn. Always.
I don’t apply always very often, because if I apply always too often, I will get scolded for its inappropriate use 😉
Yogi Bhajan says that if you want to be prosperous, there are certain things you have to have. He calls it genuineness – you can also call it authenticity. This is what his teachings say:
Without an attitude of gratitude, neither prosperity nor pleasure, joy nor happiness means anything, and it works this way. To those who have an attitude of gratitude and who do it with innocence, Mother Nature brings all the wealth, health, and happiness.
The only way a relationship between you and God can be established is if you become grateful and build up a standard of gratitude. Only then will fulfilment come in life. Only then can you be happy in life. Only then will you be fulfilled in life. Because in God we trust and in God we dwell.
The attitude of gratitude is the highest way of living, and is the biggest truth, the highest truth. You cannot live with applied consciousness until you understand that you have to be grateful for what you have. If you are grateful for what you have, then Mother Nature will give you more. Because this Universe is made by God by one universal rule, everybody has a standard of birth, growth, and death, except man. God is extremely forgiving, but if you do not acknowledge what you have, in gratitude, you will never have more, and if you care to get it, something will be lost.
Make an attitude to be in gratitude, you will find the whole Universe will come to you.
You can start your day, like Tony Robbins suggests, with a gratitude meditation. Take three minutes and find three things for which you are grateful. It can be small things like, being alive, having a bed and a pillow. It can also be beyond the things that are in your imminent reach, something bigger and greater.
You can also be more methodological and keep a gratitude journal or diary. Robert Emmons authored several papers dealing with the psychology of gratitude, showing (for example) that being more grateful can lead to increased levels of well-being (Emmons & Crumpler, 2000).
Before you go to sleep, think of the positive things that happened during the day for which you are grateful. Take a moment every night.
You can also do this with your children before bed-time, and ask them to think about something they are grateful for.
You can also just look around you at any point during the day, and appreciate what you see, and be grateful for it.
Why am I bringing lateral thinking into this?
First of all, for whom is this attitude of gratitude going to be a big change in their lives?
If you have never considered coming from a place of gratitude in Your Life, then this exercise is already going to stir your ways of thinking.
Now I want you to go even further!
Trying to put life into boxes, organising an opportunity according to positive and negative lists… this is very strict, methodological thinking.
Although it can bring you very good results, think about how you can obtain other results, if you applied a more out-of-the-box thinking.
Like what you just did from changing Your Life to a gratitude attitude.
Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Light & Love