5 Steps to Finding Gratitude Fast
by jane arie baldwin
There are times when I need a quick boost. Here are my five go-to tangibles that provide a reboot and plug me back into the miracle of every day.
- My breath – Remember how your mother used to tell you to count to 10 when you were angry and how hard it was until you got to around number eight? Ugh! Back then I found it so hard to let go of my anger, she was trying to trick me…Nine!…Ten. Exhale and – “What was I mad about?” While this is a slight simplification, inhaling and exhaling shifts the focus from microcosm to macrocosm in a heartbeat, which brings me to number two.
- My heart – Becoming aware of your heartbeat has profound effects on the body. Focusing attention on a singular object focuses prana or life force energy. When you add those two things together – your heartbeat + your life force energy = it can hit you in all the feels, as Ruby would say.
- My eyes – Seeing with the eyes of an artist has profound effects on the brain and perspective. The artist sees beauty in all of life whether it’s the rose on the thorny bush or the dead leaves of a plant that didn’t survive the August heat.
- Nature – We live on this vast ball of pulsating life – ebbing and flowing, regenerating and fading – in constant motion. Nothing has put the life cycle so in my face as gardening. I get so attached to plants, like the gorgeous eggplant bush I had a few years ago that produced more eggplants than the entire neighborhood could eat. On the night of the first chill in November I wrapped it tight with blankets. In the morning she was gone, dried up and brittle. The following spring the gardening store had a fresh new batch of plants. It wasn’t until then, many months later I could pull away from my microcosm and see the bigger picture that we are in constant motion and that is what makes every moment so special.
- Nurture – Teddy bears, cats and dogs, and most of all my family – whether related by blood, commitment ceremony or close friendship – my go-to support network brings my gratitude back into perspective. Isolation and feeling left out are mind tricks that reinforce old patterns of not being good enough. Then judgment sets in and it’s like the opposite of the cycle of life. Yes, it’s more like the cycle of death. That’s when I’ve got to suck it up and take a page out of Stewart Smiley’s affirmation book, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” When I’m saying that I know it’s time to throw judgment out the window and let love in.