Gratitude changes everything. It’s a sentiment that has been on my mind a lot lately. I have felt less then grateful in some areas of my life – it has worn my compassion thin and frustration and unrest have taken up residence in it’s place. The suffering we experience really takes place in our minds. We look at reality vs what we “think” it should be and when it doesn’t align we feel that with anger, frustration and resentment. To be free, we need to let go of the idea that life will not challenge us. Life is never free of challenges. It’s possible to accept them and transcend them by actions, and one way to do that is through conscious gratitude.
I started a family gratitude jar in the beginning of November and intended to read through the notes on Thanksgiving, however, I changed my mind. I wanted us to have a little more time to think about the things in life we are grateful for so, instead, it will be a nice new year’s activity.
Stopping to think about what you are grateful for opens your eyes to the beauty this truly is around. I know that I have never been more grateful for my opportunity in this life to express myself through my art. It helped me see that most of my stress was in response to thinking about the future. It’s the present I needed to embrace. And, when I made that shift in my mind things got a little easier. It’s been such a profound effect that I think my word of the year may be “presence”. I’ll talk more about what a word of the year is and why I like to choose one soon.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”~ Lao Tzu
If you are interested in making your own, I shared a diy: make your own gratitude jar on my blog, here. If you’re feeling a little ungrateful this holiday season I encourage you to give it a try and see how things start to shift. Even if you are already full of gratitude, it may be a nice family activity to do together.