Last week I wrote about gratitude as an attitude that we choose to bring to a situation, rather than a feeling that we have to try to feel (see Pearls of Glass: warmed by gratitude). In that particular moment, I found myself able to shift into feeling grateful when I went outside and looked, listened, and felt for the beauty around me.
I think this is the key. We are so often told, “you should be grateful” for the food you have, your health, your relationships. And of course on one level we recognize that we have so much in our lives to be grateful for, despite our struggles. But even though we recognize this abundance, it can be hard to feel truly grateful when we see it as an obligation, or when we are worried or upset, or sick.
If we approach gratitude as a state that we choose to move into, not because we “should be grateful,” but because it opens us to the magic of what is happening in this moment, we can get there from any feeling state. The trick is to get there through the body, through the senses.
In a yoga class at Inner Reaches last week, my teacher Dee said that “in each pose, there is something nourishing for you. You may or may not be doing the full pose, but you find what holds nourishment for you and you milk it.”
Finding gratitude in the moment is like that. You may not be in the “full pose,” of what you feel you could be doing with your moment, with your life. But you can be fully present, and open to the fullness of life in the one moment you have, which is all there ever is.
You can open to what is nourishing for you in this moment and “milk it.” Receive this nourishment through your senses and feel yourself shift into gratitude.
Listen to the low hum of the furnace that warms your home and your family, to the musical cadence of a friend’s laughter, to the hush of the life-giving rain. Look at the beauty in the curve of a wooden chair; see kindness between a couple at the coffee shop. Notice the sheltering nooks in the trees, and the rainbows in the sunrays.
Feel the sensation of aliveness in your face, in your fingers. Feel the solidity of the ground underneath you. Notice that when you breathe deeply, it tastes good.
Find that nourishment, and milk it. The healing magic of gratitude is yours.
(Loving gratitude to Dee Gold for the inspiration!)