I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot about gratitude in the last year. I’ve found it difficult to seek out gratitude in the ways I’ve seen popularised on social media sites and perhaps as part of wellness and/ or self care routines on Youtube as well, which I consider more of a search engine. I’ve been reflecting on whether a gratitude practice is something essential for me. I can see how this is helpful as an exercise in mindfulness and grounding into the present moments where joy can be found everywhere, always, in the mundane.
I have come to the realisation that my quest for mindfulness and more deliberate presence in my body and the spaces we occupy has incidentally lead to more gratitude than I have given myself credit for. Mindfulness and intentional existence have created so much room in my life for me to explore the things I enjoy, what about them I enjoy and why. This has allowed me to actively curate my lived experiences, to the extent that I can at least, and have more regular check- ins with myself around how I can prioritise these things in my life.
I am now certain that for me, gratitude needs to be more than a daily list of ‘three things I am grateful for’. What has come more organically for me, has been the conscious acknowledgment of the feelings that come up around people, places and activities I’m involved in/ with. Taking the time to then recognise what made me feel anything I’d like to feel more of and making a conscious effort to include this more frequently in my routine is my practice of gratitude. I am thankful to myself for being present enough to notice these feelings and all the factors that make it possible for me to not only be present then but also able to experience the people, places and things that bring me to (insert emotions I enjoy) – safety, joy, calm, laughter, curiosity, freeing, care, love. So because of this appreciation, I purpose and more recently, put in place systems, that allow me to have more moments of awareness and/ for replication.
While this practice is indirect compared to an every so often gratitude list, it has been a big way I remain committed to this existence. On an odd occasion, a verbal/ mental overflow of gratitude finds me and I sit in it, I sit with it and allow it to fill me with aliveness. One of the odd bursts happened recently, while I observed the most beautiful sunset I had experienced that week, which prompted me to share this with you and jump- started my thoughts around gratitude. I am grateful for sunsets like those that recall thoughts like these that I can share in a space like this. I’m thankful that you come and read my sunset and often late night musings around these things and finally, for this space to do this. For creating it and doing a great job at keeping it updated it so far this year.
I’d love to hear whether gratitude is important to you and if so, what that looks like for you. If you’re willing, I think it would provide some lightness to us all to read what you’re willing to share that you’re grateful for. It mustn’t be grand, I promise. All of it counts and if there’s nothing you can reach for to feel grateful for in this time and moment, there’s all the room for that here.