Thursday, 16 January 2014

Mid-week Meditation - Gratitude

Recently Jasmine and Leanne - head honchos of St Barts and Gallery One - were kayaking on the Kingscliff creek and were caught in a king tide. Their kayaks were swept far out to sea in the extreme current and it is fair to say they feared for their lives. They were guided to safety by an older gent - one of those hardy and remarkable all-season-swimmers. It was high drama to say the least - utter panic turning to icy calm as the resolve to survive kicked in.

"Life is good" said Leanne after the event, with that renewed clarity that an awakening to our impermanence can bring. And indeed life is good - even amid our struggles and trials - if we choose to remember and acknowledge the things we have to be thankful for. Sometimes it is a king tide, a funeral, health after prolonged illness, return after absence that shockingly reminds us of the many blessings we have. We vow to hold on to that feeling, but all too often it slips away as routine numbs us again. The practice of conscious gratitude, gratitude meditation, is a way to bring that alertness, that happiness and joy we felt, into our lives - every single day.

For the past 10 years, the University of California has been studying the benefits of gratitude. They had over 1000 participants to their research and for the most part all they asked was that they keep a simple daily gratitude journal for around three weeks.

The effects reported ranged from physical to emotional improvements and included:
more joy
more pleasure
more alert
better immunity
more outgoing
more helpful
less lonely
sleep better and longer

Wow! This is all from a seemingly small shift in focus.

Have you ever travelled to a developing country and marvelled at how many locals seemed so happy and yet had so little?
An Indian philosophy states that the Eastern perspective is to look to those less fortunate than ourselves and thereby counts our blessings, but that the Western way is to look to those who have more and feel lacking, deprived, even when we have so much. You might argue that this is the fuel that keeps the fires of capitalism burning, is what compels us to create and achieve. But at what cost? This focus on our lack rather than our abundance creates an insatiable appetite for more that never seems to end in satisfaction. While it is not wrong to want nice things and a good life, we will never appreciate what we achieve until we learn to really see how blessed we already are.

Mentally acknowledging the things for which you are grateful for can help boost your mood and helps you focus on the positive - it is impossible to feel depressed when we feel grateful.
There is no right or wrong way to practice and it takes time to grow into a natural and integral part of your day.

Try keeping a daily journal for all the things you are thankful for in that day.

Throughout the day stop, take a breath, what are you grateful for? Repeat at random.

Be thankful for the little things - the feeling of sun on your face, the cup of tea your partner made you, the smell of fresh sheets on your bed after a long day, your child's fluffy bed hair in the morning, the burst of juice from a perfect mandarin, a message from friend, the smile of a stranger, holding hands, your mother's love.

Before sleep take time to internally recount ten things you are grateful for.


When given the task to complete a list of things they were grateful for, here's what Leanne (Director), Tracy (Finance Manager) and Nicole (sales and online media) found to be thankful for:


You have asked me for 5 things that I give gratitude for ! This list can change daily !!

There are so many things that I am conscious of giving gratitude for every day. and can sometime bring me to tears with the emotion of ...

Just getting up in the morning.

For the fresh water that we take for granted every day and people in third world countries have to walk for miles to get and then it is disease ridden. Over Xmas I gave to Oxfam for this very reason and will continue to do so whilst my pocket can provide and lack of time does not enable me to give in time.

Gratitude for family...for the love in my heart so deeply that I have for them.

Gratitude for the health.Whilst we have our health we are able to do most things and one of the most important things that I give gratitude for I am not willing to leave this planet yet there are too many things to do.

Gratitude for having a deep spirituality and awareness that I should give thanks every day.

Gratitude that I did not die when I got swept out to sea over Xmas due to an outgoing tide and a current that I did not read...So there you go,gratitude can change daily and it is so important to be aware to give thanks.


For a home filled with family and friends, love and laughter.

For music - it fills the soul.

For good health, well-being and peace of mind.

For heartache and challenges - without which we wouldn't understand how blessed our lives really are.

Treasured moments - no matter how big or how small. Those snapshots in time that may never be replayed.

(today's gratitude)

My husband sweeping and mopping the floor this morning - I love a clean house, it calms my mind. I am good at tidying but never got the cleaning gene - luckily my husband is brilliant, if a little obsessive, at cleaning. 

For yoga - a practice that has kept me fit, connected and stable despite my leanings towards excess and emotional extremes (or you could call me a poetic soul).

The sound of birds in trees outside my house - after 7 years in Manchester, I nearly wept when I heard cockatoos screeching in flight across that first dawn sky at home.

These new cobalt chinos that I got on sale - 70% off!!

Those gorgeous little faces that belong to my children,chatting constantly to me as I tried to get ready this morning,following me to the bathroom, fearlessly taking my loving presence for granted. 


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