We have navigated a particularly tough patch of road over the last two years. It has not been the same experience for all, but for there have been extra challenges for everyone. One strategy that helps when the going gets tough, is to find and leverage a super power we all share: gratitude.
We all have this super power within us. It makes magic, changes lives, and inspires kindness and love. For some it comes naturally and for others it is harder to access due to circumstances or habit, but we all have it. Being grateful can turn a bad day into a good one, judgment into compassion, doubt into hope, anger into calm, and hate into love. When you think about it, it is not the people that own the most things or are monetarily wealthy that are the happiest people. They rely on “stuff” to make them happy so they will always want for something. The happiest people are the ones who find gratitude from within.
Now, don’t get down on yourself if grateful is not where you’re at right now. Life is hard, but gratitude helps to make it a little more manageable. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you are stuck in traffic and about to lose your cool, shift that negative energy by letting someone else go; sounds counter productive I know, but try it. By purposefully slowing down and letting another car in, gratitude for the present moment, right now, arises and creates a palpable and contagious energy that makes you and those in your path grateful!
Like yoga and meditation, gratitude it is a practice, not a perfection. At this time of year we are asked what we are grateful or thankful for, so start with the things that come easy: family, friends, health, your yoga practice, your partner, or your dharma (life purpose or occupation). Then practice that in moments of wanting, when you feel yourself desiring something you may not need, find gratitude for what you already have and notice the emotions that build: happiness, compassion, and maybe your desire for some “thing” becomes the desire to give.
You can give your time, energy, love, compassion, and of course actual physical things that others may need. Gratitude inspires service for others, one of my favorite affects of gratitude as a super power! There are a lot of problems in the world: social injustice, poverty, discrimination, climate change, a pandemic that goes on and on and on… It could swallow you whole if you let it, but that does not help you or anyone else, right? So instead let your gratitude inspire yogic action, sacrifice your time to let someone cut in front of you in line at the grocery store, go through your sock drawer and give all of the mix matched socks to the homeless- sock are a number one request from the homeless. Gratitude means service to others which leads to knowledge of unity!
Gratitude opens doors to more love and light in your life. It helps to breathe with the difficult moments as well. Gratitude comes from slowing down and acknowledging the beauty of the present moment. Yoga, which is a symbolic practice of unity, and meditation practices help to build a grateful heart and mindful responses. They slow us down from the hectic influence of media, keeping up with monetary driven social environments, habitual consumption, and the overall emphasis that objects and things bring happiness.
This is an invitation to use your super power for the grateful good! Be powered by gratitude and happiness and peace are yours.