Is for counting.
I truly believe that part of what we are all called to do, as spiritually aware beings in this time, is to dance more and more with awareness of unity consciousness. To understand everything is in a state of wholeness, where we understand there is no separation. We move from judgment into discernment, and in that discernment always moving toward where are hearts lead, what brings us joy, what inspires us into curiosity and creation.
And certainly for me that path is about gratitude. About paying attention to what makes my heart sing, and by recognizing and welcoming the vibration of that, inviting more of that in.
But I also think ultimately we are called into a state of more and more neutrality, where it’s possible to meet everything with an open heart, and with love and compassion welcome it back into wholeness, knowing that duality and the high state of contrast were the parameters of illusion we chose to work with in this lifetime on planet Earth.
Which is part of the reason I suspect that I have found focus in my life and teachings on the everyday sacred. To want to keep my eyes open and see the beauty and treasures and blessings that are available in every moment, even those moments when we feel most challenged, spread most thin, sure that there isn’t one possible thing to be grateful for. In those times of challenge we may have to agree to start small, to find one thing. And perhaps that one thing is being grateful for having compassion for yourself to just name one thing and have it be enough. But of course there are other times when we’re able to see more, and so we can grow our list.
Which brings me to the point of counting. It doesn’t matter if your list is one thing, or ten things, or a kajillion – although that one might be a deliciously fun list to make.
Science has shown that an effective way to establish a new habit is to “chain” it to something you’re already doing. It effectively gives you a built-in reminder. After I finish doing this, then it’s time to do this new thing. So establishing a simple gratitude practice can simply mean taking a moment sometime in your day (maybe in the evening right as you’re about to go to sleep, or in the afternoon as you’re taking a coffee or tea break, or whatever time feels perfect for you) and simply list, or speak, or think about things you’re grateful for.
One thing you can do is decide on a number and then name that many things you’re grateful about. If you choose a reasonable number, say three or seven, it can be much easier to focus on the things that have happened in your day that you’re truly grateful for. Because remember this practice is for you. You’re not entering a contest to see if you’re a champion lister of things that you aren’t actually grateful for, but they sure do look nice on your list. Nope. Authenticity. You want to give attention to what you want more of.
There are other ways to use counting as well, which I find entertaining, and therefore joyful and therefore something I like to do. If it’s November, the 11th month, maybe I’ll choose to think about eleven things. Maybe I have a beautiful daisy I’ve been looking at deeply in admiration and think how fun it would be to count as many blessings as there are petals. You could decide to do a count based on a number of aspects of your life – one for your home, one for your relationships, one for your body… you get the idea. Or maybe you like a particular number, why not use that as your counting foundation.
And there we have it. One simple way to begin a gratitude practice. Decide on a number and start naming. And keep doing it. After all a practice isn’t a one-time undertaking.
So what about you? Do you have a regular gratitude practice? A lucky number? What’s one thing you’re grateful for today? Do tell, you know I love to hear.