Welcome to the new home of our practice of Gratitude on the net!
Many of you will know that I have launched this site to mark the completion of a full year 365 days of daily gratitude practice and for those who have been on that journey with me, I want to thank you for your support and for following me here. For those who are new to this journey: Welcome! I hope you will continue this journey and find some useful resources here.
My devotion to gratitude began as a whimsical self tag on a friend’s meme that suggested practicing keeping a gratitude journal and counting every day 3 things for which I am grateful. I was to post the results. I had always loved the practice of counting my blessings and so I thought it would be a positive injection into my life.
The challenge was to last 7 days. During that week, I noticed another friend had pledged to post her daily moments of joy in her life for 21 days. I liked that, so I decided to practice both keeping (and posting) a gratitude journal for 21 days and noticing moments of joy. With 3 weeks in, it seemed simple to make it a whole month. A month became 3 months. Three months became 6 months. A year seemed within reach.
As I journeyed through the year, I found many positive changes in myself, my outlook, my physical health and my good fortune. It wasn’t long before my overwhelming sense of abundance compelled me to give back to the world. And, so, I added a daily practice of service. I didn’t want to focus on big lumpy investments of time and commitment but the small things we do for others as we go through the day and to try to amplify them.
It became difficult to remember those small things and so I considered that most times I would have done things for others because I would have experienced empathy or compassion for others or because I simply felt an inexplicable connection with them. And so, we incorporated a final and wide sweeping element of the first 365 days of practice: noticing Oneness.
People have asked me about religion and gratitude. While practicing gratitude is part of many religions, I don’t believe there needs to be any spiritual basis for practicing Gratitude or noticing moments of Joy and Oneness or for being of Service. In a world without ‘God/dess’ or a force greater than ourselves (What I call the ‘Divine Quantum’), one can still be grateful that the winds of chaos have brought good things into one’s life.
As for Service and Gratitude, they are part of the social contract of life. We give to others because our life is full at least partly because of the service of others.
The only part of this daily practice that really overtly makes reference to spirituality is Oneness – and even then, it is only a part of the whole concept. Oneness involves a connection with something greater than oneself and also, to me, other things, including friendship, empathy, compassion, love, sex and those moments of awe experienced when looking at beautiful art or in the presence of nature.
I have achieved a year of daily gratitude journaling but achieving the milestone is not the reward or the end of the journey. And, so, it is time to go on, and expand on what was learned in that first year – here.
Of course, underlying all of this practice is the practice of Mindfulness – the practice of being attentive, in the present moment, without judgement. Without a mindful approach to life, one would not be able to recount three things each day, but more importantly to notice our moments of joy, connection and compassion. We haven’t really explored in the first year some of the underlying themes like mindfulness nor the wider dimensions of application to our environment and ways of working.
We have so much yet to explore with the simple concept of gratitude and where it will lead us. I am so excited that you have decided to explore with me!
My hope is that what I share will encourage you to try some of it at home, in your own lives. To be completely transparent, I think it would be great if the whole world took up daily gratitude practice and we all learned to live gratefully. I think it would be the salvation of our planet, our communities, and of ourselves.
Already there are so many people living gratefully, although they wouldn’t call it that, per se. The artist and musician who gives all to her art to make the world a more beautiful and/or positively thoughtful place is living gratefully and using her gifts in the service of others. She does it because it brings her joy and into oneness when she is in the flow of creating. The nurse, who tends to the sick and dying lives gratefully by making each of those precious moments meaningful and full of tenderness. She experiences the joy of helping someone either become well again or die with dignity and there is no doubt that in her patients most vulnerable moments, she is able to experience oneness with them and that what she does is service to the world. The humanitarian or environmental activist who takes action to save the planet is serving us all in his efforts and has surely chosen the profession because of a sense of oneness with the suffering of others or the planet and understands gratefully that he is fortunate for the world is a fragile place and needs caretaking. When he makes a difference, it fills him with joy. The mother who raises children and works a full time job lives gratefully for the opportunity and privilege to give of herself to raise and nurture good hearted children into good hearted adults and she experiences joy in their successes as much as her own and it is she who perhaps experiences the ultimate oneness with another human being as she and her child were once One.
Won’t you join us in living gratefully?
If you’d like to see some of the posts from the first year of practice, you can still read a selection of them here: