Gratitude changes your brain chemistry. Proven. Happy brain chemicals mean that you’ve got more clarity and courage. Proven. There are zero downsides to making gratitude part of your wellness practice.
As with all “inner world” practices, we need to apply some intelligence to this. Because sometimes, the How-to, or 7-Steps, or “I’m so thankful” process can create even more illusions and stuckness…
WEEK 5: GRATITUDE
This is an exercise in CONSCIOUS GRATITUDE. Smart gratitude. Discerning gratitude. We’re not going to sugarcoat the tough stuff and automatically say, “There’s a gift in the pain.” Pain is only a gift if you do the emotional and mental work to transform the pain into power. THAT’s the discerning, conscious part.
Conscious gratitude has been one of the most healing and creative practices in my life. It gets me out of my funk EVERY TIME. And it’s the source of a lot of my productivity. Conscious gratitude heals you, it’s generative, and it’s incredibly empowering.
The intention with this Free & Clear exercise is to transform gratitude from a sweet and moderately useful practice, to a life elixir. We’re going to get alchemical.
Here’s an excerpt from my last book, White Hot Truth, about examining and refining our gratitude.
WHITE HOT TRUTH : CHAPTER 16
REGARDING SUFFERING: Soul, pain, perspective
What exactly to be grateful for…
I am not grateful for being ousted from a company that I co-founded. I am not grateful for losing $90,000 on a business idea gone south. I am not thankful for the Spirit-crushing ramifications of one particular relationship. And I really could have done without that two-year bout of a mystery illness. There have been losses. And trials that wore me down until I begged for a break.
But holy hell, am I profoundly grateful for everything that I learned from those challenges. I’m with Maya Angelou: “Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.” I would not turn back the clock, or take back one tear, tremor, or dollar. All those moments that I had to quell the adrenaline with the power of my mind, or carry buckets of integrity back from the well when I thought it might be dry—that was some serious training. All those revelations of responsibility! So many illusions that got burned down! The flames that scarred me are the flames that purified and lifted me up—because I gave myself over to the fire, willing to learn, wanting to know. I got down on my knees, peered under the clouds of smoke and fear, and said, “Let me see what’s really going on here.”
And when I thank Life for what those challenges provided me with, I say, Thank you for helping me see clearly. For helping me see where I can grow and how I can get there. Thank you for helping me see where Love is and where fear lurks, and where the Truth has always been.
There’s no need to be grateful for your hardships and for the perpetrators themselves. Because, remember: the Universe brings you more of what you are grateful for. So be grateful for the Faith and the friends that held you when it all fell apart.
Be grateful that you have the capacity to transform suffering into learning, and brokenness into resilience. Be grateful for your strength to handle the challenge.
Download your CONSCIOUS GRATITUDE worksheet here.
Let’s jam on this together Wednesday, Nov 7, on the @desiremap Instagram at 12pm PST | 3pm EST. We’ll shake up the New Age default attitude of “it’s all good”, so that we can feel experiences more deeply, and then: be clear on exactly why and what we’re grateful for.
HOW TO WATCH LIVE:
Instagram: On your phone find @desiremap. Click on the profile photo and join my Live Story. When it’s over, you can view it again for up to 24 hours, in the same place!
Facebook: I’ll be streaming live in the Desire Map Facebook Group. The video will appear at the top of the group page.
CATCH THE REPLAY anytime on @desiremap’s IGTV or in the Desire Map Facebook Group.
Gratitude. Sweet, uplifting, and proven to be good for our brain chemistry.
The next Free & Clear installment is the finisher. We will PRIORITIZE PLEASURE. We will put a cherry on top, take a deep and self-satisfied inhale, and feel the sweetness of being clearer than we were a few weeks ago.
Before you go…
Book recos: Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.
Quick watch: Need a good cry? This #TellThemNow video on expressing gratitude to our fathers will do it for you.
More to say on the topic. My post: When gratitude is harmful.
Spotify Playlist: SERIOUSLY THANKFUL
Tunes: Crank it. And sing your Thank Yous.
- Thank You, Alanis Morissette
- Just Like Heaven, Katie Melua
- Lovely Day, Bill Withers
- The Luckiest, Ben Folds
- Love is Here Where I Live, Everything But The Girl
- Gratitude, Earth, Wind & Fire
- Ain’t Nobody, Chaka Khan
- We Found Love, Rihanna
- Thank You, Michael Franti
PS: Invite your people to give thanks. Press send.
Tweet it out:
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