Grateful Heart, Joy-filled Life

From @falconhealingarts on Facebook

If you change your attitude to one of gratitude, you’ll start noticing more positive changes in your life. Below are some ideas for you, practices that I do myself each and every day to develop a grateful heart!

Why Developing Gratitude is So Important 

During a parent class at my son’s nursery school ages ago, we had to choose just one characteristic, from a humongous list, that we thought was most important for our child to develop.

In my group, I remember the other parents choosing “independent”, “motivated”, and “organized”. We all agreed that these were wonderful characteristics to develop and would lead to successful lives for our children. The parents said that children with these skills would be “easier” to manage.

I was last to share and declared that “grateful” was by far my first choice. The other parents didn’t nod as agreeably and looked a bit puzzled, wondering how gratitude would get my son far in life.

I explained that someone who is truly grateful appreciates all that has happened in their lives, values their relationships, and has an internal motivation to pay it forward with kindness. People need this shift in attitude and thinking to really enjoy life.  That is what I want for my son more than anything: a love for life.

I said a lot more that seemed profound at the time (perhaps only to myself, but that was okay)! I was grateful for the exercise, for the clarity of discovering what I wanted to model for my son.

Why is Developing Gratitude So Challenging?

I know, sometimes it’s hard to feel grateful. When we experience sorrow or see others suffering, we tend to focus on what we feel is wrong with the world.

Feeling grateful does not mean than we endure injustice. But we can be grateful for even the most unpleasant circumstances if they urge us to make meaningful changes in our lives and the lives of others.

Sometimes it’s political unrest that motivates you to become more involved in your local government. Maybe it’s a decline in your health that prompts you to make changes in your lifestyle. Perhaps the loss of a friend or family member makes you realize that life is short.  Then you’re prompted to spend more time with loved ones and live life to the fullest. We can be grateful for all these experiences.

You may wonder why you should take my advice on this. I am certainly not all-knowing. But as a yoga teacher, I feel it’s my duty to offer this advice. The entire training in yoga is about remaining open in the body, heart, and mind, regardless of circumstances. We develop this training for the rest of our lives.

Our work is to live fully in the present moment, even the most dreadful, boring, and seemingly meaningless moments. To do this, we’re required to make peace with the past and admit that whatever happened led to this moment, right here, right now. We can remain hopeful and positive about the future knowing that everything to come has a purpose.

In Yoga, we respect our lineage of teachers who have passed on this wisdom and most of us express our gratitude for them and the practice itself whenever we come to the mat.

How To Develop an Attitude of Gratitude Every Day

  • After getting out of bed each morning, touch the floor or even bow down on the ground and give thanks for the new day given to you. 
  • Read this post & listen to the meditation below that will help you develop a grateful mindfulness practice. 
  • Say grace, sing a song, or simply take a moment of silence before eating a meal. Bring to mind the animals, plants, farmers, and workers who provided the food. Thank the cook, even if it’s yourself. And when preparing a meal, think about the people you are cooking for, how you feel grateful that they are in your life and feel pleased that this is one way you can express your gratitude and nurture them. 
  • Pause before exercising or whenever you’re especially mindful of your body. Appreciate it’s strength and endurance, even if it is not what it once was. 
  • Stop complaining!!!
  • Try to hang out with people who inspire you to keep your heart open. 
  • Generosity and gratitude go hand in hand. When you give someone your time, effort, or even money, you are valuing their services and expressing your gratitude. Think about this when you’re donating, volunteering, or do any kind of shopping. 

Do you have ways that have help you develop a grateful attitude?  If you have anything to add to this list, please let us know in the comments!

I value all of you and am so delighted to have you in my life. Happy Thanksgiving every day!

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Brandy Falcon L.Ac.

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