I've been intentionally focusing on gratitude for many years.
It started when I was in the middle of chemo . . . when I didn't feel terribly good and the days seemed really long and I worried about my future and felt like I had lost my center.
I started keeping a list of all the things in my day that were good; things that connected me to myself -- and the world around me.
I kept doing it.
It turns out that one of the easiest "first steps" in developing a gratitude practice is . . . noticing. Simply noticing and acknowledging the things in our lives that we are grateful for can foster feelings of contentment and joy, respect for what we have, and connection to the world around us.
I know that intentionally noticing and acknowledging things we're grateful for each day is powerful because it's kind of like . . . a vicious circle. The more we notice the good things in our lives, the more we are able to notice the good things in our lives. Y'know? And that creates an ever-expanding circle of good.
The things we list don't have to be the big things (although that's often where we start) -- like family and housing and health and jobs. They can also be little things we just . . . notice . . . when we start paying attention. Bird song. The scent of hand lotion. The flow-y way my pen writes. The fact that I hit a green light just when I needed it most.
I decided to try a new approach to my gratitude list-making this month -- building on that "vicious circle" analogy.
I grabbed a piece of illustration board, and starting with a heart, I drew some outwardly-expanding lines. Each day, I write down my gratitude list for the day within the lines. Now, I'm starting to use my watercolor pencils and a waterbrush to bring color to my list.
Acknowledging my gratitude makes me feel good. I share my good-feelings with people around me. And then they feel good. And they share their good-feelings with the people around them.
Start a list.
Let's spread gratitude's good-feelings all around.