Infinite palette of gratitude
Eric Greitens book Resilience is a collection of letters, written to his brother in arms who is challenged by PTSD, purposelessness, masking his pain with heavy drinking and many other complications that accompany life after war. This book is a masterpiece of warrior wisdom and here is a quote from a chapter about happiness –
“Think about all the different ways that you’re happy. You have the happiness of eating good ice cream, the happiness of a dinner with old friends, the happiness of a walk in the woods, the happiness of a hard won victory, the happiness of a prayer that brings you peace. Given how varied and beautifully diverse human life is, we could say that there are as many kinds of happiness as there are colours: an infinite palette of joy that colours the world”.
The possibilities of integrating gratitude practice into your life are infinite. You can custom make your gratefulness palette. Irrespective of how you chose to express gratitude (journaling, affirmations, gratitude walk), in order for you to reap its benefits it must encompass some essential ingredients. Here are some approaches from leading thinkers in the field of gratitude.
Emote, extend and exercise
Life coach Jane Ransom advocates a three step process to keep exercising the gratitude muscle.
- Emote: Feel the emotion.
- Extend: Include other people in your gratitude practice.
- Exercise: Practice daily.
Jane believes that a practice of gratitude can free us from emotional pain. She notes its particular benefit in healing childhood wounds. The pre frontal cortex in children is not fully developed. This leaves them vulnerable against negativity around them as it slips unfiltered into their psyche. This is what is referred to as ‘limiting beliefs’. Jane says ‘when you change yourself you change the world’. It’s a process whereby which we begin to look at our inner garden so that we can begin to transform our communities, countries and the world. Jane has a deep personal story of transformation in her own life through the practice of gratitude.
Stop, look, go
Brother David Steindl-Rast offers a simple approach to practicing gratitude. It’s similar to the instructions that you must have received as a child, when crossing the road. Brother David states that we can’t be grateful for every experience in our life, but what we can be grateful for is the opportunity in every given moment.
STOP: Upon returning from Africa, every time Brother David turned on the faucet or the light switch he was overwhelmed with gratitude. After a while this feeling of gratitude began to wear off. So he put stickers on faucets and light switches as reminders to stop. Brother David believes that ‘STOP signs’ in life are necessary to enjoy what has been given to us. When following this approach you can be as creative as you like with mounting STOP signs in your life.
LOOK: Open all your senses to witness all the wonderful richness that is given to us. Look for opportunities in that given moment.
GO: Then do something with that opportunity that has been given to you. Go with it and be creative.
Words To Grow By
“Now, we say the gift within this gift is really the opportunity”.