It’s the beginning of October, and I have been noticing the way the light is starting to be less bright during the day, the sun is rising a little later and setting a little earlier each day here in the northern hemisphere. It’s a time when nature is announcing Fall, regardless of what the actual weather is doing.
When I was growing up in Saskatchewan, Canada (which is north of Montana and North Dakota for my US friends), the Fall season was my least favorite. It signaled the end of warm sunny weather, the beach, freedom to wander and it also signaled the cold weather that was coming! When I moved to Ontario for University, I had the opportunity to visit my cousins at their cottage some 3 hours or so north of Toronto. I’d never seen such beautiful reds, oranges and yellows! My perspective and feelings started to change as I opened to the beauty of the season.
In Canada, October is also the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. Historically it’s our time for giving thanks for the harvest, since that is usually complete by then. I know some of you may live in the US or other countries and have your Thanksgiving celebrations in November or another month of the year. Yet being grateful is always timely.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melanie Beattie
Many people are continuing to experience challenges. From what I have read and heard these challenging circumstances may not let up on the 3D level for some time. It’s a time of change on planet earth, and as I mentioned in the last newsletter, it’s also a time of choice.
I’ve been observing the narrative and stories in the media, including social media, and like many, I’ve noticed that 2 camps have emerged. Lines are being drawn, separating family members, friends and colleagues. Continued grace is required.
And that brings me to gratitude and appreciation, for the fastest and easiest way to shift our state is through gratitude.
“Got no check-books, got no banks, still I’d like to express my thanks. I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night.” – Irving Berlin
Gratitude and appreciation are easy when we’re in the flow, happy and feeling great. Yet, though we may not “feel like it”, expressing gratitude and appreciation when things aren’t going our way can make all the difference.
As human beings, we have free will and freedom of thought. We have the power to choose what we will allow into our minds, what we will entertain and what we will discard. We can choose what we will think. Now that may seem Pollyannaish to some, yet thought is powerful, as those of you who have worked with me know.
We can choose what we will say and do. We can choose to be loving and respectful with others, even if we disagree. We can choose to be thoughtful and generous. We can choose the way we are going to be in this world, regardless of what is going on around us.
It is through our choices that we frame a situation or circumstance as a victim story or a victory story. We have the ability and can make a choice to look for good in each circumstance or situation. A circumstance or situation may not change immediately, yet the gratitude will change our relationship to it.
“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.“ – Voltaire
Let me share a story about how choosing gratitude shifted something in my life…
Now, I haven’t been one who loves to tell stories – at least not the way some folks do. I suspect it’s because I grew up in a household where my mum would tell and embellish stories with abandon. She loved to tell stories, and really got into it, if you know what I mean. Once started, and she had someone’s attention, she’d create new details and color to suit those listening. She’d have people laughing, shocked or sad, and loved the attention. For many it was entertaining. Yet for me, well… I honestly didn’t see the point other than that they were attention getting. It seemed manipulative and it bugged me back then. Growing up, I wasn’t a fan of storytelling.
Yet as I started speaking and coaching that perspective was unhelpful, for stories are important as illustrations. I resisted telling stories at first, and still sometimes feel a little exposed when I get into some that are personal. Yet stories make the difference between dry and boring presentations and those that are engaging, enlivening, inspirational and memorable. Personal stories help us connect with each other. They help us know whether we are on the same wavelength and can relate to the other person, whether through shared joy or pain.
Though it took some time, and she had passed over by then, I started to be grateful to my mum for all her stories. She was a master teacher in that way, and in hindsight I learned a lot. I now tell stories for a different purpose than she may have, and continue to admire the mastery my mum had for telling her tales.
This may seem like a small thing and if you’re wondering how this might relate to you, consider this: you see, being grateful for the small things has taught me to be grateful for circumstances and conditions that feel “bigger” – ones where its challenging to feel grateful or find anything good or beneficial for that matter.
Yet, as Willie Nelson has said: “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
You may have a robust gratitude practice. Or you may not have one at all. Regardless, there are several ways in which we can express gratitude and appreciation. Here are 3:
1. The first is to be grateful “when” or “if”. Being grateful when or if is where gratitude is based on the happening of a circumstance, situation or condition. Gratitude in this sense is conditional. Its when we think or say, I’ll be grateful when I get the money, the time, the sun comes out, the chores get done, or when you’re in a hurry, coming up to a red light and hoping the traffic light changes to green 🙂 …
What are some examples of this that quickly come to mind for you?
Where are you looking to be grateful?
Take a moment to tune in and remember the feeling you had when something that you wanted happened. What does that feel like?
2. The second way is to be grateful “for”. To be grateful “for” is a higher frequency of gratitude. Together with being grateful when/if, it is the most common form of gratitude – one that many people express and practice. When we think of gratitude we often look around or turn to our memories and see things that we are grateful for. It also comes into practice when we are looking for the gem or good in a situation.
What are some things or people you’re grateful for?
What are some circumstances, situations or conditions that you’re grateful for?
Take a moment to tune into what you are grateful for. How does that feel in your body?
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.” – Germany Kent
3. The third way is to be grateful “in”. Now this can be a foreign concept to many people so if you’re wondering what “being grateful in” means, you’re not alone.
Being “grateful in” means that you are in the experience of gratitude regardless of what is happening around you. It means you’ve not judged a situation, circumstance or condition as being good or bad. It just is. This is a state of being where we are in an ongoing state of gratitude and experiencing the expansiveness of life even while navigating rigorous situations.
Years ago, someone said to me that “something wrong AND something right is always happening”. At that time it reminded me to shift my perspective and to look for the good.
Where are you putting or focusing your attention? For as we know, what we focus on expands.
Yet this state of being is more than shifting focus. In the state of being where we’re “grateful in”, we may or may not be “grateful for” a situation, diagnosis or condition. Its a state where we are experiencing the situation AND in gratitude for our life, the life and joy that flows through us, and the love that emanates from our being. We are in the state of gratitude regardless of whatever is going on.
Being grateful in has no condition. It is a way of Being. It’s a decision to live in a state of gratitude.
If so, consider experimenting with these instructions for 5 minutes each day for the next 7 days. As you rise in the morning or before you go to bed, generate a feeling state of being grateful and stay within that feeling for the 5 minutes, or as long as you’d like. Then go about your life. And at the end of the week, check in and reflect on your week, and experience. How are you feeling?
Will you fall off? Perhaps. And if you do, then give yourself the gift of a fresh start.
For those who are more serious or advanced, also spend some time (even 5-10 minutes per day) journaling your experience. As we know the thinking mind tends to dwell on the negative so when we consciously accentuate the positive, the results have more power.
“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” – Hannah Witall Smith
Gratitude and appreciation are harmonious with abundance (in all forms). And they are a vibrational match for who we truly are. They may not match your current personality – but know that your current personality isn’t who you truly are.
Abundance raises your frequency and regardless, doesn’t it just feel better?!
I’m grateful to be in this life at this time, and for all of your emails and comments.
Despite any circumstances, situations or conditions that arise or you may face, may you choose to have a beautiful month!
Much love coming your way,