Gratitude Helps

I’ve been in a bit of a funk recently.  Tossed about by the sea of life and feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I found myself strangely drawn to reading a book that was (although humorous) a bit negative really. It  reinforced the sorry state I was in without me realising it. How influenced we are by what we take in through our senses, and how subtle it can be that we don’t even notice our minds and our perception changing in response. We’re so darn malleable and influence-able!

Then I picked up a new yoga book that flipped things around overnight. Luckily, the influence works both ways. You can fill your head with crap, or you can fill it with joy, and the turnaround is pretty quick.

It’s amazing how quickly we can forget the power of perspective. How quickly we forget that what really matters isn’t what happens to us but how we chose to perceive and experience it.

I had burrowed deep down into my self-pity rabbit hole and in the darkness had totally forgotten my choice in the matter.  The book had one line in particular that  stood out: ‘Gratitude helps.’

Of course! We’re evolutionarily wired to look for the negative, the danger, the lack, the next thing we need to do stay on top of life and survive. 

Pausing to take stock of the abundance we already live in and feeling into the joy of being so very blessed isn’t hardwired into us. We have to make it a conscious daily practice.

Like cleaning our physical bodies in the shower each day, we have to take time daily to consciously release the buildup of debris on our minds. The dust that starts to settle and cover us over, preventing us from seeing our many blessings as we start to take everything for granted and focus just on getting through life, being and achieving more, at the expense of enjoying each moment and appreciating each blessing fully.

We have to carve out time each day to consciously appreciate the wonder of simply being alive. The privilege of being safe and healthy. The richness of having enough food, clean water, a space to call our own, friends and family to love and be loved by.

But it takes daily practice, a daily reminder to keep us seeing and appreciating our blessings. When I’m leaving the house for work in what feels like the middle of the night right now (because it’s pitch black) and my cats are curled up in a blanket on the sofa ready for a day of napping (oh the envy) I have to gently remind myself what a gift it is to be human, to have a pleasant job to go to (even if it does get in the way of hibernating), to have money to buy and do the things I want to do, clothes to keep warm and a home sanctuary to come back to at the end of the day.  And many, many, many other things to boot!

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.’ – Albert Einstein

Author: Sam Vale Noya

Yoga instructor currently living and teaching in Reading, UK.