I just watched the new Disney Pixar film, Soul, and it brought up some important reminders about living life to the fullest that lately I have been overlooking. Sure 2020 has been a rough year for all of us, there is not denying that. There has been so much loss on all levels for so many people. I, fortunately, have fared the storm quite well, quarantining with my family, and no one I know personally has been stricken with serious illness. I have, however, found myself a bit blah in my day to day, missing my flowing inspirational energy and self-starter nature that came to me more naturally before. Even my creativity seems stunted lately. The days melt into each other and I miss having “things” to look forward to such as social events, trips, and creating installations for events. Something feels a bit off, and I am sure many of you can relate. It wasn’t until I watched Soul that I was reminded of what I get to do to take control of my experience.
Not to give it away, but the messaging in Soul in suggesting we make a choice to truly LIVE in the moment. Each and every moment. Sure, we can have passionate hobbies, careers, and interests, and look forward to what excitement the future may have in store for us, BUT the key to happiness is finding it in the here and now. And sometimes that is easier said than done, am I right?
I can recall days not so long ago when the sunlight sparkling through a fluttering tree canopy of a giant oak made a tear roll down my cheek. I was struck by the beauty and the meaning behind it that is easier felt than explained in words. Joyous moments happened spontaneously and in rather mundane moments. Well, how the heck do I get back there!? I’d certainly like to FEEL that again.
Enter- Gratitude Practice. This is something I’d love to say I am committed to daily, but the truth is I pick it up and put it down throughout the year, along with my meditation, yoga, workouts, etc. Like most of us do- we have seasons and tides, and our commitments ebb and flow and start and stop. And that’s OK. We are human after all. The key is having the awareness of your experience and then taking action to pick the practice back up.
A gratitude practice is super simple, but highly effective. Basically it looks something like this, and feel free to add or change any part to make it your own.
Upon waking in the morning, and definitely before you open that iPhone, grab a pen and paper and free write 1+ page of everything that comes to mind- the good, the ugly, the illegible and the nonsensical. Write it all down until it’s empty. This clears the mind and opens it up, allowing more penetration of the heart.
2. THE LIST:
Next, write a list of 5 things you are thankful and grateful for. Big things and little things, anything.
3. THE FEELS:
Now go back through the list one by one and close your eyes and tap into the feelings and sensations that arise in your body when you hold this thing you are grateful for in your heart. Let it marinate. Write the feelings and sensations that came up for you.
4. THE THANKS:
Give thanks to the Universe (or whomever you feel is the higher power) for this day, this moment, and this opportunity to experience Life.
6. THE LIVING:
Go about your day, but try to slow down and notice things a bit more. It may take a few days, but if you keep up this morning practice I promise you the joy of the present moment will fill you up more and more each day.
Make a commitment to yourself to try this for 10 days. I find it helpful to write in my planner, add it to my calendar and put a reminder in my phone.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with this practice, so let me know how it goes!