Gratitude. It all starts with gratitude. My interests in Positive Psychology and Buddhist Philosophy always bring me back to the primary importance of gratitude as a tool for living more skilfully – for creating the capacity for more joy in our lives.
Late Summer is a good time to reflect on everything we have received this year, whether intentionally or as if by magic – or maybe a bit of both as no matter how much we plan and strive, no matter what our intentions, life often surprises us.
For me, planting seeds and harvesting vegetables is a magical happening that hasn’t lost my amazement since first planting carrot seeds as a child. I grew these ones and love the wonkiness, the way two of the carrots were entwined as if hugging under the soil. They smell incredible. Digging them up is like striking gold – their colour is so beautiful.
To start practicing gratitude as a skill for increasing your happiness (there’s research behind this): write down three things you’re are grateful for every night, before you go to sleep. Some days you might just be glad to be in bed and the day be over, but stick with it – this stuff takes time but it works – magically, just like growing carrots. Soon you won’t be able to stick to three and you will suddenly notice that you are surrounded by incredible riches. It retrains your mind out of it’s loop of doom.
Right now my three would be: that carrots grow out of the earth in my garden; that I’m working from home today and get to be with my three lovely dogs; and that I get to drink coffee that comes all the way from Columbia – an every day miracle. And now I’ve opened the gratitude flood gates because I’m also healthy, loved, valued, writing…….
What are you grateful for right now? One thing, however small.