Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is the cornerstone of many great philosophies and spiritual practices – reiki, yoga, meditation, 11th step, the law of attraction, and positive psychology are just a few. We see the blooming of this in late November when Thanksgiving reminds us to pay attention to our appreciation mentality. It’s illustrated through the holiday season when our appreciation of people manifests in gift giving and of our religions in the form of rituals and festivities.
Gratitude may spring up when catalyzed on days where we’re encouraged to pay our respects – think Mother’s and Father’s Day, and birthdays. But to really harvest the high yield of a grateful heart, appreciation has to show up daily.
WEED OUT THE UNNECESSARY
It’s no secret that who you surround yourself with and the content you subscribe to has a great impact on your mentality. Weeding out the mental habit of complaining or overreacting to the suffering that life inevitably brings takes continual care to overcome it.
Take a hard look at your various news feeds, both socially and news oriented. What needs to go? You can test this against the fact that it steals your light vibe, brings out your cynicism or jealousy and angers you into apathy. Obsolete friends, exes, one-hit wonder friends or dates, colleagues that will never advance your current ambitions, topical stories that you don’t have direct control or influence over, pseudo-friends and acquaintances that never amounted to anything – these can all be weeded out of your direct line of sight. This will help direct your energy into things that deserve to flourish more.
KNOW YOUR OFF-SEASON
Cultivating a grateful disposition pays out in droves during rough patches, dry spells and the occasional lethargy of the off season. Have you noticed that you fall into a slump at certain times throughout the year or month?
Consider when your personal “off season” is and how you handle it. For example, those few days right before you get your period, is there a looming cloud that seems to cast shadow on even the smallest successes? What about during the winter months when the weather drags on and the collective mood falls more sullen? Knowing if your off-season is in fact cyclical will help you manage it more successfully.
Anticipate when you’ll need to put in more labor and call on your resources, inspiration and accountability partners to pull through.
PLANT THE GOOD STUFF
Setting up an environment that encourages gratitude and the practice of appreciation will help to cultivate the mental landscape that allows for a proper harvest to be reaped. That secular ritual of raising your glass before the first sip is a beautiful, and maybe unnoticed, practice of gratitude. If you aren’t doing this regularly, make it a thing!
Add accounts and people to your media feeds that represent and model how to be more appreciative of the mundane moments in life. To go “pro” in your seed planting, meet the ungrateful with kindness. When that person in line behind you starts complaining, don’t encourage more negativity by joining in on the party-pooping. If someone honks at you in traffic, hold your space of patience. Smile more often. Smile at people who aren’t smiling. Compliment people with reckless abandon.
Like a fecund field, harvesting gratitude requires attention in all seasons of our mental environment in order to flourish during the growth phase. If you’re looking for some fertilizer to help upstart yours sense of gratitude, consider joining us in California for the Redwood and Hot Spring Retreat to connect to the source of gratitude itself, the heart.