Life and people can take certain things away from you, and a lot of that is out of your control — but no one can take away a grateful heart and mindset of abundance. -Thomas Oppong
Human beings are currently culturally programmed into fear-based thought and action. If you doubt the validity of this sentence look at the reality of the world we are living in currently. Resources are being grabbed and seized from one another and our Earth with such rapidity that we are beginning to secure our own demise. Gratitude is not a natural state for an adrenalized human. Gratitude is a radical act and requires cultivated skills to hold against the tide of I’m gonna get mine. Also, what if what you already have is enough to fill your heart? What kind of consumer would you become? With utter clarity, I say that capitalism doesn’t love a grateful heart.
Gratitude is a radical act. Today I have sat myself down and made time to explore this critical subject. In an attempt to understand the way gratitude moves in my body and being I am creating a gratitude wheel. Slowly as I form the words of this wheel, gratitude is growing within me and I am beginning to feel my entire being shift from my baseline sympathetic to a more relaxed parasympathetic state. I’ve noticed today that for true gratitude to arise, a decent size pause is required. In the busy to-do list machinations within my mind, gratitude has insufficient space for its long languid legs. Very interesting to me there were some tears that came when I allowed myself to truly embody my gratitude. Grief moved within me as some of the things I am most grateful for I am preparing to move physically away from. This makes sense when I remember that grief is praise as Matín Prechtel teaches. Praise and gratitude place me in a space of deeper vulnerability than I usually inhabit in my day to day.
When I am in my baseline critical mind there is a nice porcupine shell of antipathy that forms all around my heart that helps keep me safe from anyone getting to close or hurting me. It also cuts me off from any chance of meaningful relating. It’s a choice at some level and I would love to have a bit more conscious awareness around this decision. Over the past year, I have had to develop the skills/be coached into learning how to celebrate the wins in my life. There is plenty to celebrate in my life. Yet, in my German protestant upbringing celebrating others and God forbid, celebrating myself is utter heresy. I have found clear evidence that without the ability to celebrate self, the likelihood of being able to celebrate others slides to a near zero. In my growing ability to self celebrate, I react and act differently with others I am relating to and have become markedly less critical.
Cultivating gratitude is a conscious choice. What I am recommending isn’t a spiritual bypass. I can fully embrace the value of my porcupine critical voice and create a gratitude wheel in the same moment. In fact, I am grateful for my critical mind. That same sharp mind is what allows me to communicate in a meaningful way. What I am working towards in my life is greater balance. Can I soften into gratitude as easily as I can identify what is not working in a situation? This conscious awareness, this mindfulness, is what it is all about for me.
I hope you get a chance to create a gratitude wheel. It has been an amazing journey this morning.