How to live life with gratitude
Start by appreciating yourself
When the day is done, be grateful. Each night before I drift to sleep in my comfy, warm bed, I appreciate having a bed and a home and so much more. Many people in the world today don't have this luxury. I think of my grandmother, who at the age of 15 left the poverty of rural Poland with her 17-year-old brother to find a land of opportunity in America. She never saw her homeland again or the relatives she left behind, yet she made new friends and built a family here.
I often think of this prayer. It's a chant from an ancient loving kindness meditation.
May all who are in need find a comforting, safe home.
May all be well and healthy.
May all be happy.
When the new day breaks, be grateful. Each morning as you start the day, breathe in energy and appreciate the opportunities. As Henry David Thoreau suggests, "Live deliberately… live deep and suck all the morrow of life." This is the time to reaffirm your passion, align it with a meaningful purpose, pursue it with all your heart and all your soul, and assess progress throughout.
Throughout the day, be grateful. Each moment with each breath brings the occasion to appreciate. Too often we don't stop to notice. Our lives hectic, with a seemingly infinite to-do list. There may even be a 'fear of stopping.'
What will it take for you to stop and appreciate? Give yourself the challenge to stop. Every time the phone rings, a text comes in, the door bell rings or you eat something, be grateful for this one small thing. Especially appreciate the blessing of friends and co-workers. Tell them often how much you treasure the gift of their camaraderie.
Meditate on Appreciation
Sit comfortably, preferably in a quiet place without too many distractions. If possible, sit with upright posture aligning your head over your heart. Close your eyes, if possible. If not, just look into the distance with a softened, non-focused gaze. Take in a deep breath and exhale slowly, letting out all the tensions and preoccupations of the day. Relax.
Start with yourself, because without appreciating yourself, it is close to impossible to be grateful to others. Hold a picture of yourself in your mind.
See yourself physically expressing gratitude to yourself in whatever way is right for you. Imagine using your 'hands,' or physical being, giving a handshake, hug, smile, standing ovation, or other sign of appreciation.
Then using your 'head,' recite the following affirmation inwardly, "I appreciate all you have and will continue to do in pursuing this passionate purpose. You are making a meaningful difference. You are making progress. You are competent. Thank you for being you." Modify this affirmation until it's right for you.
Then with your 'heart,' send feelings of love, appreciation, and gratitude. Feel yourself being showered with thankfulness. A smile comes to your face, a warm glow sweeps over your body, and waves of good feelings permeate throughout and radiate everywhere.
Now gradually expand the focus of this meditation to others for whom you are appreciative. Hold a picture of one fellow being after another, or a group together. See yourself physically expressing thanks to the person or people. Recite the affirmation. Feel a loving connection.
As you wish, expand the focus to encompass spiritual forces in the Universe.
When the time is right and you want to end the meditation, slowly bring your awareness back to your situation and space.
Live deliberately. Live passionately. Be grateful. Stop and notice. Meditate and appreciate. Be thankful for the opportunities of the day and the friends that bless the way.