A Month of Gratitude
"The struggle ends when the gratitude begins."
Neil Donald Walsh
As we cross the threshold from October into November, and feel the upcoming celebration of Thanksgiving upon us, it can be a great time to refocus our awareness on the feeling of gratitude for all the blessings that fill our lives. Though we can often find ourselves focusing more on what is lacking in our day-to-day unfolding, and what we feel we need to 'do' in order to be more joyful and content; the truth is that, until we learn to appreciate what we already have, we will never experience a state of true contentment within ourselves. Many scientific studies have been done over the past 15 years, particularly by the good folks at the HeartMath Institute, which prove that, when we feel gratitude in our hearts on a consistent basis, we trigger a flood of 'feel-good' chemicals in the body, which increase the feelings of joy and well-being within ourselves, and towards those around us. Not only that, but the more we live from this space of gratitude and appreciation, the more we radiate that energy into the space around us, and thereby draw more people and experiences into our lives for which to be grateful for. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
If you doubt this; take one short minute right now and close your eyes, bringing your awareness to your heart-space. Allow the breath to slow down, and get a sense that you have an opening in the middle of your chest and you can draw your breath through that opening into your heart. Get a sense that your breath is infused with the light of gratitude and appreciation. If you have a hard time feeling grateful, just think of someone or something in your life that you're grateful for, and feel that in your heart. Get a sense of radiating that gratitude to this person, or thing you feel appreciation for. Once that feeling is established, just focus on the feeling of gratitude in your heart, as you take a few more breaths.
Most of you felt, or are still feeling a deep sense of joy as you rested in this state of gratitude. This feeling has been shown to boost the immune system, and give those who practice this technique a deep sense of well-being and connection. And the amazing thing is this; no matter how disconnected or stressed out you are at any given moment, you can reconnect to this heart-centered feeling in as little as three minutes. So instead of waiting till the 'official' Thanksgiving on the 25th, why not take a little time each day to feel thankful throughout November, making it a whole month of gratitude? For those of you who do, what you will feel is an increasing sense of joy, appreciation and Love that flows from your heart to everyone, and everything that comes into the space of your life. What greater gift could you possibly give to yourself, and to the world around you?