Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
-Mary Jean Iron-
I remember when Oprah presented the idea of a gratitude journal back in the 90’s. I got a hold of a copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance and I started what was to be a life-changing practice for me. And lately, for the second time in the past few years, I followed the 28-day practice in the book The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. I had to overcome somewhat of a prejudice towards the latter book before picking it up. Without having read it, I had the impression that it would be a bit cheesy. I’m so glad that I chose to ignore that bias because The Magic turned out to be a very powerful process, one that I recommend highly. As a result of practicing gratitude, I have a better life.
Pessimism Can Easily Take Over if We Let It
According to studies, our brain is wired to have a negative bias. This evolved as a defense mechanism. By focusing on their negative, dangerous experiences, early humans were more likely to survive. As in “Lion equals bad therefore run.” This article from Psychology Today sheds light on this bias and goes further to validate the power of positivity in healthy relationships.
I know now that I have always had a wonderful life, I just didn’t recognize it before. Like most of us, I tended to focus on the things that I felt that I lacked. When I started practicing gratitude, I didn’t know that my brain was wired for negativity, I just felt that this new way of seeing was helpful to me. It allowed me to re-focus on the half of the glass that mattered. Then, in a miraculous way, by making gratitude a habit, I perceived the glass as being quite full, even though not much in my outer circumstances had changed. Now, I don’t need to journal every day. Being thankful has become a habit. I have enough. I am enough.
In All of Time, This Is It–Your Life!
I feel so blessed to be alive. Every day, in my heart, I thank my parents and the long line of ancestors that preceded them for the gift of my life. I’m grateful for my body and for my feelings, for my soul and for my mind. I appreciate family, friends and all the beautiful people that I know. I am grateful for my husband and for the life we have built together. And so thankful to have had two daughters, who, in their search for meaningful lives, have taught me so much. Each day brings so many wonders. Gratitude helps me to recognize them
The fact that we are alive is the result of so many random occurrences that it feels lucky that we won the lottery of Life! We are participating in a rich, bountiful life that, as far as we know, has only occurred on this planet. If you feel like you want to make gratitude a habit, you can start by being thankful for your life. It truly is miraculous!
When I say the following prayer, I am reminded of the long journey that has resulted in our being here. It helps me to feel connected to my roots and to all beings. Affirming thanks for our life is a solid base on which we can build our gratitude practice.
Prayer of Thanks for Life
I am grateful for this, another day of life on Earth.
I give thanks to my parents for conceiving and providing for me.
I also thank my grandparents, my ancestors
And all the early humans that struggled to survive before them.
To all the beings that have ever existed and who evolved into human life,
And all of nature that surrounds and nurtures us in so many ways, I give thanks.
I am thankful for our planet’s life-fostering atmosphere.
I smile on the clouds of gas and dust that formed our galaxy.
We truly are made of stardust.
We are all connected, bound together by our common source.
Sustained by the air, sun, earth and water that we all share.
Hallelujah! I’m alive!