By: Keri Nola, MA, LMHC
Gratitude is the single most important tradition of our lives. It welcomes a kind of peace and joy in our hearts that only grace knows. Contrary to popular belief, gratitude isn’t just a feeling – it is an experience that we cultivate through intentional daily practice.
Choosing to mindfully engage in a gratitude ritual prepares and trains us to be able to access love and light even in the darkest of times. So on those days when gratitude is the last thing on our minds or in our hearts, maybe we’ll allow ourselves to practice gratefulness for a moment and see how this experience realigns us with our Divine selves and our birth rights of infinite love, peace, joy, health and abundance.
If the idea of a daily gratitude ritual is new for you, I recommend Four Simple Steps (acronym B.A.R.E.):
1) Breathe – Close your eyes and take a deep intentional breath, inhaling peace and calm and exhaling tension, struggle and fear. Hold this step until you feel grounded and centered to move onto step 2.
2) Awaken Awareness – Allow yourself to meditate on what is true in the present moment. Become aware of each NOW moment.
3) Recognize Blessings – Name one or more blessings that come to your awareness in this moment. Let your senses be your guide. What do you see, hear, feel, taste and/or smell that generates an experience of gratitude for you right now?
4) Emotions Flow – Allow the emotions to flow as the naming of your blessings translates into an experience of feeling and enjoy the integration as your gratitude travels from the cognitive awareness of your head space into the emotional awareness of your heart space.
As indicated in the steps above, there is a mindfulness about gratitude that takes time to establish. It isn’t simply about saying “thank you,” but rather about the combination of acknowledging our blessings AND feeling grateful in our hearts.
The ultimate goal is to integrate the thought of gratitude in our heads with the feeling of gratitude in our heart center because it is when this feeling awakens that our vibration shifts and we begin to draw more blessings into our lives than we could ever dream possible!
Perhaps you’ll create a gratitude journal where you’ll capture your gratefulness, or maybe you’ll gather with a community of friends to co-create a sacred space for sharing. Or maybe you prefer to just hold the experience in your heart. Whatever you decide, be sure to personalize your gratitude ritual to meet your own needs as you discover what resonates with you over time.
Are you ready for the challenge? Ready, set, blessed!
Keri Nola is author of “A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul,” and founder of Path to Growth LLC, a Central Florida-based integrative healing center that blends traditional and holistic techniques for journeys to peace. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Nola provides psychotherapy and facilitates therapeutic retreats for those seeking to reconnect with their inner wisdom, particularly after trauma or loss. She also offers heart-inspired business consultations for healthcare professionals. For more information visit www.pathtogrowth.com, on Facebook and Twitter @pathtogrowth.