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RAOKA: The Gratitude Ritual

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January Theme: Gratitude(as suggested by Melissa at Operation Nice) . For more details on what RAOKA is and how you can be a part of this awesome crusade, see details below this post.


“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” ~Johannes A. Gaertner~

Being in a state of gratitude can completely transform one’s disposition. The more we pause to consider the things we have to be grateful for, the more we begin to focus on those things. And the things we focus on, we tend to draw toward ourselves. Therefore, the act of focusing on our blessings tends to bring more blessings into our lives.

I invite you to test this assumption for yourself. You may wish to use the following practice – or create your own gratitude ritual. Continue your practice for at least 21 days, as that’s how long it takes to develop a new habit. At the end of the three week time period, sit back and reflect. Are you feeling more gratitude throughout the course of your days? Are you starting to view your life in a more positive light?

This works and I am here to vouch for this practice as I did practice it all last month. To be honest, this has been with me for a very long time. I just wasn’t regular in my practice. But, since this time the raoka theme was Gratitude, I restarted a regular ritual.

The Gratitude practice: Choose any time of day (more than once a day if you’re able) to practice gratitude. This short routine should only take about five minutes of your time.While lying or sitting down, allow your breathing to slow and become steady. Pay attention to at least three full breaths.Now record in your journal at least five things that you are grateful for.As you record the items that you are grateful for, stop after each entry.  Allow yourself a moment or two to really feel the gratitude. When we open our hearts to all the good fortune in our lives, negativity (temporarily, at least) will take a back seat. We begin to realize that despite the difficulties life may hand us, we are truly blessed.

My Grandfather was a master of the ‘attitude of gratitude,’ even though he never participated in a formal gratitude practice. He didn’t have to. He was one of those fortunate people born a natural optimist. Most of us have to work at it!

Grandpa had plenty of reasons to complain; especially later in his life, as he lived for years with some rather debilitating medical conditions. But, he didn’t spend much time feeling sorry for himself. In fact, he was one of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met. He always saw the silver lining behind every cloud (both literally and figuratively). Over the years, we made 40 plus vacations as a family,and any time we were cursed with a rain shower while  out in the monsoons in Mumbai, grandpa could be seen pointing toward the sky and saying, “Hey! Do you see that bright spot? I believe the sun’s trying to come out!”

As you might guess the sun did not always come out during those rainy monsoon days in Mumbai, yet grandpa’s optimism was contagious.  Because of his ‘sunny’ disposition, our family would start to see the silver lining in our situation.

“Oh well,” My mum would say, “At least we won’t be sweating today.” “Hey, Grandma and Grandpa!” we would exclaim, “It’s still raining so the park won’t be too crowded. Do you want to go play?”

Soon grandparents and grandchildren were heading off for a rousing game of throw-ball, and my mum would happily steal away to the local stores while my brothers and I ran off to explore a few of the local shops. The entire gang was enjoying our family vacation – sun or no sun.

We live in a world that can bring you down. We’re all aware of that. You don’t have to look far to find the negatives – just check out the headlines in the local newspaper or glance through any online news source.  Not to mention the personal hardships we all face at some point in our lives as well — medical issues, financial concerns, problems with our jobs, our spouses, our children…

Most of us are not natural optimists like Grandpa. But for the rest of us,it’s amazing to see how a little spontaneous gratitude can help to lighten a gloomy attitude.

For example, it’s quite dismal and overcast this morning as I write these words, and I’m facing a list of ‘to do’s’ that’s terribly daunting. Both of my knees are sore from running errands outdoors this past weekend (exercising on pavement is not ‘knee-friendly’), and from 100 miles away, my hubby is worriedly awaiting some important interview results.

Now these are all very real concerns, but if I were to stay in this brooding ‘head space’ I doubt I’d be able to reap much joy from this day or share much joy with others, for that matter. Therefore, instead of spending the entire morning focusing on cares and worries, I’m making a conscious decision to spend my next few moments contemplating a few of my many blessings.

Such as…

  • The wonderful phone conversation I had with my dear friend last night.
  • The coffee in my cup, that seems to be extra dark & rich today.
  • My Hubby and Daughter, still sleeping comfortably within the home we have the privilege of sharing
  • The very interesting-looking bird that just came to rest on our back window.
  • My good fortune in being able to rearrange my schedule so that I’ll be able to spend a few days at the end of the week with my family, and…

Wait! What is that I see peeking out from behind that huge gray cloud up there? Well, what do you know? I do believe the sun is trying to come out!

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NOTE: What is RAOKA? Random Acts of Kick Arse is a movement to bring more of {a monthly theme} into our lives, and the lives of those around us. This awesome movement was initiated by Sami from Life, Laughs and LemmingsRAOKA Logo courtesy of Melissa from Operation NICE. The theme for February is “PASSION” courtesy of Dani@Positively Present. If you would like to join this movement please contact Sami on her blog for further details.
Other awesome RAOKA Crusaders:Sami@Life, Laughs and Lemmings; Lori@Jane Be Nimble; Dani@Positively Present; Lance@The Jungle of Life; Melissa@Operation NICE ; Brandi@Joy Rebel;  ; Jannie@Janni Funster’s Blog; Keith@Think for Money; Gayze@Gazehound’s Animal Communication

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with love Zeenat


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Author: Zeenat Merchant Syal

Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor/Motivational Speaker/Naturopath/Holistic Healer/Writer

30 thoughts on “RAOKA: The Gratitude Ritual

  1. Hi Z! Well YOU are the sun, my dear one! And I, for one, am grateful to have connected up with you in blogland! Each person you touch here is richer for the experience!

    I think I have shared with you before that I start out each day with gratitude, just for BEING here! It’s a lovely way to start the day and I carry that in my heart as I go about my day. I wrap up each day with a gratitude “prayer” sort of, and like your list, will think of all the things I have to be grateful for in just that one day.

    I wasn’t always like this – oh no! It took a lot of years of complaining, whining and hitting my head. But I will tell you this – I like this a LOT better! :)

    Hugs
    suZen

    • Hey Suzen,
      I am the lucky one to have connected with you :) I am learning so much from you…sometimes i wonder how i survived without your wisdom for so long :)
      Hey Anything beats banging your head on the wall… I am all for peaceful alternatives.
      Hugs to you too !

  2. Hey Zeenat! Thanks for joining the RAOKA Crusade. Awesome to have you on board!

    I love what you’ve shared about your Grandpa. My Mum is very much the same.

    What you’re saying here is SO true. Focusing on what you’re grateful for can absolutely change your disposition. I have found that even on the worst days, writing in my gratitude journal brings me peace, helps change my mindset and reminds me what’s important. Being grateful and sharing gratitude is such a powerful thing.

    Thanks Zeenat. I’m “grateful” you joined the RAOKA Crusade!

    • Hi Sami,
      Wow! I’m so glad to be part of something so beautiful :)
      And grandpas are the best….we can learn so much from their time tested wisdom.
      I am glad you liked my little grandpa story…:)
      Thanks for having me in Raoka!
      Much love~

  3. What a fabulous ritual! What a perfect way to start or end a day. I know what I’ll be adding to my day. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Hi Jill,
      Glad you liked this practice :)
      Adding it to your day will surely make your day and life so much more sublime…
      Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts here :)
      Much Love~

  4. Hi Zeenat,
    I love the story about your grandfather – how wonderful to have a person like this in your life! And as you have experienced, that gratitude and joy for life are contagious! And that is a really great thing!

    And reading here today, I’m reminded that there ARE lots of little things I have to be grateful for in my life…so worth remembering!

    • Hi Lance,
      Many a times we forget the small things isnt it…like the lovely lunch we had with our family..or the lovely intimate moment we shared with our children. Or the pretty little smile you little one gives you form across a crowded room…
      And grandpas are like that..all full of love and wisdom…
      Thank you fro sharing your beautiful thoughts here as always :)

  5. You find such wonderful, positive and inspiring quotes. I love the one today. Gratitude can be spoken in passing or lived! Let’s live it. Blessings.

    • Hi Erin,
      Glad you enjoyed this. I am a sucker for good quotes..i always think a quote is like a magic sentence…it says so much without too many words…
      And yes, Lets live in gratitude always :)
      Blessings to you too!

  6. Very sweet, Zeenat. And useful. I have heard about gratitude journals, of course. I know Oprah is big on those. But I never have kept one. I am starting one tonight! I even have the little blank book to do it in. Would you say each 5 you write should be different things, each time?

    Your grandfather was a very special man, obviously. And I do believe his spirit of optimism is very alive and well in you!

    Hoping the interview went well for your husband. I know all will work out great.

    • Hi Jannie,
      I had no idea Oprah was big on this…I dont really get to watch oprah all that much here…it airs very seldom here…and no dvds to buy either…But its good to know.. :)
      I suppose even if its the same thing everyday….its fine. But comes to think of it..if we are thankful for the same thing everyday…dont you think we are actually not noticing the other things we could be thankful for….hmm….
      My grandpa would have loved to read your comment for sure :)
      Much Love~

  7. HI Zeenat, I am constantly being reminded of the positives in life with the great souls I have met on the internet, and you are definitely one of them. It’s great to be able to go to a blog and feel better than you did before you arrived there :)

    Like you used to, I practice gratitude sporadically, daily but not with any routine. I think this is a great habit to get into and I will practice this all of February to see if it makes a difference.

    • Oh Steven,
      You make me blush…:)
      I am the thankful one to have met awesome people like you online…! Who knew such souls even existed…
      And please do let me know how your gratitude practice goes this month…I would love to hear the new developments…. :)

  8. Zeenat, I’ve witnessed the power of gratitude in my own life, as well as other people’s. My friend, Tom, for example, was able to turn his very angry life around over the course of two or three years, and credits gratitude as the thing that keeps him grounded in the many blessings that surround him. How grand!
    Thank you for sharing this gratitude practice with us, and for what it’s worth, I have a hard time believing that the sun isn’t always shining where you are. (smile)

    • Hey Joyful Angel,
      The sun can play hide and seek with me here…but as long as i can see your comment..i know the perfect light just shines my way.. :)
      And your friend Tom, is one intuitive guy……Awesome to have friend like that around…makes you see your blessings too :)

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  10. Zeenat,

    Your posts are always beautifully written and inspiring. You transmitted a smile to me this morning and thank you for that. I have both of my sons home ill and it’s raining. I could complain but I have a fire, I’m home safe, there are a lot of grey clouds yet I’m quite sure I can see the sun breaking through. Quite certain.

    God bless you sweet soul.

    • HI Julie,
      Arent you an awesome commenter :) Such sweet words..thank you !
      I am so glad you liked this post and that i was able to transmit a smile to your already lovely face :)
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wonderful thoughts !
      Blessings to you too!

  11. Hi Zeenat .. you make an important point – once we’ve noted down something we’re grateful for – or thought about it as we’re out and about – if we can .. we should just stop and think quietly for that gratefulness and on that point. There’s always a reason to be hopeful.

    I love your family gang .. all happily pursuing their joys of life for those few hours in the park, before gathering again and going home having enjoyed your day out in the gloom of a monsoon day ..

    Lovely thoughts you were having about the small positives of your day .. and entering the rest of your day on a happy optimistic note .. I hope you’re now enjoying your weekend with family .. enjoy it ..

    I believe we’re going to get a bit of dry and sun this weekend – bliss .. my train journey back yesterday was ok – but the clouds with their silver lining were superb as I journeyed out of London coming south .. big black anvil style bases (I remember my school geography!), billowing colours – greys, silvers, grey white, off white, white and at the top in places a billow of shimmering gold-white as the sun hit the top of the billow – they were big .. long as well as high – it was a pleasure to see and watch as we chuntered along! Be happy!

    • Oh Sweet Hilary,
      I am so so happy to see you here. I have missed your lovely thoughts here :)
      I agree with you….gratitude in everything brings about a sense of hope….that indeed everything will be and is alright!
      Thank you so so much fro sharing your awesome thoughts here :)
      Much Happiness to you :)

  12. Hello Zeenat,

    it is a blessing that there is a person like you. By opening a newspaper negative emotions are guaranteed. Your encouragement sets me positive and I am sure that it changes the world. I think your grandfather is a great example for you like my grandfather is for me. It is a pity that I could not speak much with my grandfather (I was very young), but I remember how I walked with him through the forest and he radiated tranquility and optimism. Now after reading your post I have understood, what one of the reasons for this was definitely that he has lived gratitude. I will try to do the same.

    Thank you!

    • HI Konstantin,
      I am so glad this post helped you. Isn’t it wonderful that in their subtle ways our grandparents were such wonderful teachers…
      Gratitude is such a wonderful quality to cultivate in life…makes everything so so beautiful.
      So So happy you liked this :)
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wonderful wonderful thoughts :)

  13. Pingback: Gratitude Gladdens the Heart « ~Positive Provocations~

  14. Zeenat~~I so enjoyed reading your thoughts because Gratitude is a subject close to my heart. I would like to add another quote if I may

    “I know what I perceive to be reality magnifies, therefore I am willing to choose to magnify only GRACIOUS”. ~Beca Lewis, Living in Grace, The Shift to Spiritual Perception

    How glorious it would be if we chose to always, and in all ways, magnify GRACIOUS. Thank you for your enLightenment.

    • HI Gail,
      Thank you fro sharing such a wonderful quote!
      Its so perfect!
      Being IN gratitude is indeed the best way to live :)
      Thank you fro stopping by and sharing your lovely thoughts :)

  15. Hi Zeenat,
    Gratitude was a lovely theme for our January RAOKA. As you say practicing saying thank you and looking for things to be grateful for and happy about really takes some effort if it is to become a habit.

    At the end of January, I joined a group of 30 bloggers and promised to leave a comment one person’s blog each day. I’m so glad I took this on. Each day, there’s something to be grateful for as I learn from each person – about topics that I wouldn’t have thought about if they weren’t part of the roster.

    Each of us gets so excited when it’s our turn! Heart smile, you know what I mean?

  16. Pingback: On Awareness, Gratitude and Conscious Living | this time ~ this space

  17. I do enjoy reading your post..I know I am archiving but one can never be too full of positivity..
    I read a book several years ago about ‘gratitude’ and it spoke of creating a gratitude ritual; which I didn’t truly commit to way back when. I am committed today to living a life of gratitude; which I am truly thankful. I don’t have a ‘ritual’ but I do wake up each and breathe a thank you to the heavens and universe for such a wonderful day, for the loves (friends/family/unknowns) in my life, for the strength/courage to live a healthy sober happy life…I also find myself saying thank you (to myself, others, the universe) or telling others I appreciate them throughout the day and most before I close my eyes to sleep I say thanks..for a great day, the relationship I share, for making choices that support the true me. So thank you my dear friend..for your writings today and then cause they are definitely sunshine to my soul. Much love sweet soul.

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