We hear a lot these days about super-foods, precious powerhouse fruits like blueberries and avocados, that deliver energy and anti-oxidants. Delicious and satisfying, super-foods act as adaptogens and support our body’s ability to adapt to stress. But how do we similarly replenish our soul connection? In an age where our day to day seems impossibly stretched, how may our spirits be deeply and constantly nourished?
There is a surprisingly simple practice which costs nothing, requires no club membership or specialized knowledge and which may be drawn upon for a lifetime. It is a powerful mind habit, an easy manoeuvre which unlocks so much energy, you feel like an invincible action hero. So straightforward as to be easily dismissed, it is the practice of gratitude.
You begin by identifying several recent occurrences for which you are grateful: the new recipe you tried on your dinner guests that turned out well. That old fellow at the cleaners who finally smiled at you. The bus that waited instead of motoring off…. You get the idea. Itemize positive events and offer a heartfelt Thank You… to life, to the universe and, if you have one, to your concept of God.
Next, evolve a habit of noticing the little things: relish your morning cup of coffee, its rich darkness, the smooth heavy cup warming your hands. The sun is out, a bird is singing somewhere. Smile, look to the sky, say Hello to creation.
Soon, even the day’s less-fun dynamics can be mined for their hidden worth: against all odds, you were on time for work. Your best friend is not avoiding you, she’s just really busy. The car did not require a costly repair. And going deeper still: my neighbour is being really cranky. What a great opportunity to be resolutely kind and cheerful, to practice goodness.
By examining the past with gratitude you may heal petty resentments and regrets, releasing the tremendous energy bound up in the conviction of your grievances. Observe them and then let them go with the grateful acknowledgment that life’s stumbles taught you something, and your seeming setbacks shaped the beautiful person you are today: thank goodness I didn’t get that job, boyfriend,’ fill in the blank. It was not right for me.
As you become adept you will discover that gratitude is both a process and a destination, a light-filled state of equanimity. More than just a healthy habit of mind, gratitude becomes a stronghold from which you venture forth and a sanctuary which holds you safe when you return… because, in fact, gratitude is a practice of unconditionally loving your life and, in doing so, powerfully and intentionally drawing down grace into every waking moment.
Prepare to be amazed. Take the first tiny step. Breathe. Look around you. In all things great and small, what are you grateful for right now?
*** About Monica Renée Duncan ***
A periodical writer for over three decades, she is a new contributor to 3rdimagazine.
“I’ve had many spontaneous and unusual encounters with the divine. For that reason, I have a passionate belief in the power and capacity of the human spirit to evolve. But every new level we attain begins with a first step, the recognition that we need guidance and help. The universe provides, when we ask.”