28 Dec Life improvement without the struggle
There’s a trick to this whole happy life thing, that has nothing to do with material things, career, money, handbags, fancy shoes. (Ok maybe hiking shoes.)
The trick – gratitude. Gratefulness. Humility. Non-attachment to outcome. Not taking things for granted.
Now, there are many ways to access it, but here’s the simplest way of finding what works for you:
1. Small daily steps. Try it one small bit at a time. Try this same small amount every day for a few weeks. For this beautiful habit to form, make it regular and consistent. Eg, you might jot a few things in your notebook every night or morning. You can share your highlights of the day/week with your friends, family or your partner.
2. Contemplation – there is enormous complexity with each breath. In the eye. In each cell. In the solar system. What are all the factors that had to exist for you to be here? When you feel grateful for something that happened or something that you enjoyed, what other elements all came together to enable that result? There are always things within things: such as a good meal (someone grew it, bought it, cooked it), your home community (and birth in or journey to this place, receiving an income or gift, relative freedom and human rights), even just in meeting a friend (having crossed their path in the first place, your ability to move towards them, your ability to communicate with them).
3. Exploration – what are the wonderful consequences or impacts of that event? All the things that it means, such as a good meal (health, nourishment, energy to live purposefully), your home (sheltering you from the elements, security, personal space), meeting a friend (a fun time, social connection, support).
4. What’s new? There is often something fresh and different, even if you’ve done something in the past. Your body, your state of mind, your level of experience and wisdom, and the rest of the world are all different from yesterday.
5. Focus on what you feel is positive about a situation. It takes a lot of strength to admit the more positive aspect of something that feels painful, unpleasant or ugly to live through.
6. If you write down what you’re grateful for, or share verbally, continue to do so. Even if the events are regular. Even if these events repeat, they won’t repeat forever.
7. Mindfully notice all aspects of your space, sense sense information and body.
8. Revel in the physical and emotional sensations of feeling grateful, blessed. Feel it light you up, and feel the practice of gratitude seep into other areas of your life – social, family life, work life.
Notice that you see the silver lining more often, and that you can draw comfort in brighter areas of a difficult situation.
Where does life smile at you?