It’s a bit gloomy out there in the really real – I am chasing the blues away with a cup of red bush tea and half a banana with my lovely love. I am grateful. Deeply, sincerely grateful. I woke up this morning and immediately turned to my partner to be cuddled into his sleepy embrace. This is a morning ritual I cherish. A moment of calm, wordless contentment. (If you know me – you’ll know the key here is wordless – for which I am sure he is even more grateful than me…)
In those sweet seconds, I am immediately flushed with a sense of gratitude for him and our little house in the middle of a row of little houses – our neighbour’s have suffered loss and pain this year – and we have sailed through. I can’t say the whole year has been without challenge – but nothing out of the ordinary.
Our parents are still battling on. The kids are thriving. We could count the moments of discord on just one hand if we had a mind to. When you put a tech-addicted geek together with a strident, menopausal chatterbox – there will always be the odd herrumph – it’s normal, healthy. Good.
I don’t intend to make any resolutions this year. Waste of time and too much pressure. As I get older – I wonder if the skill isn’t simply to take that moment of quiet, grateful reflection I am gifted every morning and breathe it into my bones so that I can go through my day working to express that gratitude.
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
Cicero said that apparently – I could pretend I knew that already – but I didn’t – I went looking for a quote that best describes how I feel about it – turns out Cicero is my chap!
I’m pretty sure that if I actively engage with the practice of gratitude – I feel happier, am more generous, productive and if I properly express my gratitude – all of that is amplified. Gratitude is the foundation for kindness and contentment – and if I want anything for myself this year it is to be more kind and more content.
It may not be sexy or dynamic to be kind and generous but for me these are the most important qualities to lay claim to in the face of all the shit. Let’s face it – there’s a lot of it about and we are all dealing with it one way or another.
So instead of any half baked resolutions, recycled from the year before – this year I am going to make a promise to myself.
I promise to take time to engage with gratitude every day and to give my best shot to expressing that gratitude by being as kind, gentle and generous as I can be.
I hope your year brings you the opportunities you long for and deserve.
Luli’s Gratitude Breathing
It’s a simple thing – but it works for me. I just close my eyes and deepen my breath – at the same time dropping into my heart centre. This is fancy talk for allowing my attention to settle around my chest and ensuring that my breathing expands and contracts at my abdomen and chest.
When I’m feeling calmed by my deeper breathing I repeat ‘thank you’ as I breathe. Filling up my conscious mind with the word. I give thanks to the big out there everything – but if you have a more specific notion of the source – then of course give thanks specifically. This isn’t an exercise in giving thanks for specific things – simply to engage with gratitude by being thankful.
I continue to repeat ‘thank you’ as I breathe and ‘feel’ that thankyou in every part of my body, sending it around with the breath – sometimes I visualise the chakras filling with thanks. Find what works comfortably for you. Remember we are being kind to ourselves – so there doesn’t need to be any struggle my friend. Just repeating ‘thank you’ silently – or out loud if you’d like will be enough.
I do this for as long as I have before my day takes over and I need to crack on. Sometimes it’s moments – sometimes it goes on for a long time and I get completely lost in the process. What is important is the quality of the experience. Make it as deep and real and profound as you are able.
I’ve done this for a very long time – and I know that some days it’s trickier than others to fully locate a sense of genuine gratitude – but it is an effective way of feeling better when things are shitty – as well as feeling wonderful and blessed when things are good.
Today is all about the walk and the eggs and salmon…
Next week I’ll record a gratitude mediation for ya if you like!
Love love love – is the only answer.
Happy 2016 y’all X