Sunday, November 18, 2018

Living from a Place of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is this week! A holiday that often brings families, friends, and friends who are like family together to share a meal. It marks the beginning of the holiday season for many and brings about more contact with those that we love. In elementary school, “What are you thankful for?” was the journal prompt for so many years in Language Arts. In recent years, my dad has also taken to asking the same question during Thanksgiving dinner. It is such a good and simple question and one that we should ask ourselves regularly, even when the going gets tough.

Last week, I finished my 200 hour yoga teacher training. Like, whoooaaahooohooo I was so pumped. I could not believe that I had found 200 hours (and then some) to devout to self study and learning a new skill while also working full time (and then some). Coming up on Thanksgiving, I can say without a doubt, my yoga teacher training experience is what I am most thankful for this year. It has taught me so many things that I will flesh out over posts to come, but I want to focus on the most timely lesson, which was learning to live from a place of gratitude.

Living from a place of gratitude effectively means living from a place where you are grateful for what you have and the experiences you have. Practicing intentional gratitude means actively working to find the good in every situation. And that can be hard, which is why it is a practice. One way to begin a practice of intentional gratitude is to keep a journal where you jot down everything that you are grateful for that day, big or small, to start to understand all of the amazing things around you. When things seem not so great, make it a point to write down something that you can look back on without attachment or emotion that you were grateful for.

For me, practicing gratitude is what got me through yoga teacher training. There was one night, not too long ago, where I went to yoga at a studio about 30 minutes away from my house and it took me two hours to get home. My plans to cook dinner were ruined, I was cold because I didn’t realize the temperature was going to drop so much and didn’t pack a real jacket, and I was exhausted. I was so upset because it felt like I was reaching wit’s end in terms of balancing work, yoga and my general health and wellness. I cried, my friend brought me food, I took a shower, and I calmed down. I actively pushed myself to change my perspective on the situation from “wow, my night has gone down the toilet” to “wow, I was able to practice with my favorite instructor, I have a warm home to come back to every night, and friends who will go out of their way to help me.” Let’s be clear here, what is considered a rough time will differ from person to person, and we will all be grateful for different things; just focus on your practice.

Yes, I just shared a story about how I was able to shift my perspective during a not great time, but it is just as important to practice gratitude during the great times. It is when we are consistent with our practice that we see the most growth.

What are you most grateful for this year? Share in the comments below!

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