So why is it sometimes so difficult to get past the thorns to smell the roses. This week I was feeling unwell. I woke up last Tuesday and immediately had to go back to bed. This is not my usual mode of operation and I was frustrated with myself. I tried again to get up and still could not. Finally, I admitted defeat and went back to bed.
My health is precious. I truly feel that I am blessed to be in good health and I put effort into maintaining good health. However, now I was sick and feeling forced to rest my mind was full of all the things that I should be doing instead of resting. The to do list grew exponentially as I lay down and added to it by the minute. Blaming began to come into the equation. Who was to blame? Was someone not taking care of their health and spreading germs? Why did I let myself get into this? And so on...
There were so many roses to smell beyond the thorns of my mind.
Once exhausted with all this I found that my mind shifted. I noticed that I had a comfortable bed to lay in, clean water to drink, I did have the choice to rest, I had people that cared about me and checked in on me to see how I was feeling, I could nourish my body by allowing myself to rest. There were so many roses to smell beyond the thorns of my mind.
Gratitude is a mindset. We can choose to see our cup as half full or half empty. We can choose to recognize all that we are blessed with or wallow in what is not. Do we need to cultivate gratitude? I think so. A daily gratitude practice can more easily move us past the thorns and to the roses. Is it easy? Not always. We are wired for negativity. Our survival depends on negativity. We anticipate the worst to protect ourselves and ensure the continuation of the species. And of course, there are much bigger thorns to deal with than the small inconvenience I experienced from a few days of illness.
Even so here are a few simple instructions. Try them out and see where your gratitude journey takes you.
Begin your daily gratitude practice with a few moments of your time and a dedicated notebook.
Take a few minutes to breathe and consider what is there to be grateful for in this moment.
Clean air, a friend, a kindness, Spring flowers, a beautiful sky.... Write down just one gratitude a day.
Take a moment to reflect.
Continue into your day.
With practice gratitude becomes more of a familiar attitude. Life is brightened by the outlook. The moments when it is difficult to see with clarity the abundance that is right in front of us can be transformed more quickly.
Practice until you reach 1000 Gratitude’s. You will automatically have changed your mindset.
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Linda Varnam is a Certified Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher and Qigong Instructor. She believes that traditional wisdom teachings of the practices of qigong and yoga offer very practical, accessible and profound tools for living joyfully and passionately in todays world.