Special Note: Over the past 3.5 years since I have been writing on Positive Provocations, I’ve written about Gratitude many times in great detail. I love how gratitude has transformed my life. Below is an article/post I wrote 2 years back, which fits perfectly in the celebration of World Gratitude Day which is on 21st September 2012(today!).
“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, 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 blessed 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.
- 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…
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!
Let me end this Gratitude post by conveying my immense gratitude to YOU the reader for being here and lighting up my life with your presence. I remain in gratitude to you always.
And now its your turn 🙂 What are you grateful for today? Have your very own gratitude practice you would like to share? Please share your amazing thoughts and wisdom in the comments below. Let celebrate and be grateful together 🙂
p.s. super special post in the making…sshhh 😉 ….reveal in a few days….
With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
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34 thoughts on “Celebrating World Gratitude Day with a Positive Gratitude Ritual”
Great reminder Zeenat,
I liked the playful tone of this post too, especially how you wrapped it up at the end.
I will definitely commit to a 21 Day Gratitude Fest! I’ve done it before and blogged about gratitude many times like you. The benefit is in the doing and feeling of gratitude.
thanks, my cyber friend
I am pretty playful in real life Brad 🙂 I tell you..I’m eternally four 🙂
I shall come over to read your gratitude posts and observations.
In gratitude always~
This is awesome Zeenat! Yes, I think I will start this right now.
I am grateful for…
The wonderful conversation with my mother today.
How the sun is shining through my window, warming me so gently.
All of the yummy tomatos I have from my garden today!
My amazing husband completely healthy and finally sleeping through the night peacefully.
My sons laughing face as we shared stories on the trip home from his wonderful schoolday.
Your gratitude list is truly amazing!
May you have days and nights full of amazing things to put in your gratitude list. When we choose to see….we are truly blessed.
Thank you fro your awesome comment here.
Beautiful post Zeenat!
I remember the time I had written a post about what are you grateful for and how we can express gratitude, I had shared so many small things that we can really be grateful for in our lives.
Simple things like waking up each morning, to be able to be alive, to be able to see you kids and hubby once again, to be able to see the birds chirp, the list is endless indeed. Very little is needed to make a happy life and there is so much to be grateful for every single moment.
Thanks for sharing and making us realize this important aspect. 🙂
Please share the link here with me…I’d love to read your gratitude list. Its truly the smallest things that bring us true happiness, hence a list full of the small is actually a pretty amazing thing 🙂
Thank you for your amazing comment here.
So Much Love~
So sweet. I am grateful for every little thing I have. I am just grateful to be alive. Hugs!
Me too Vidya, especially today hugs to you too
Hugs right back, Suzie!
And I’m grateful for the two of you being in my world Vidya & Suzie 🙂 Sending you both lots and lots of love.~
It is wonderful practice gratitude everyday. We remember how wonderful life really is.
It sure makes us realize that life is full of happiness, should we choose to consciously notice it.
Thank you for your lovely comment here Cathy.
Lovely post, Zeenat. I am grateful to have a loving family and some really good friends in my life. I am also grateful for working with some truly wonderful people globally, and happy to be interacting with inspiring bloggers like you. Loved reading about your grandpa.
About working with wonderful people globally…i think we are both blessed in that department 🙂
May we all keep inspiring each other to BE so much more.
My grandpa was one in a million 🙂
Thank you for your loving comment here.
Thanks for the reminder Zeenat 🙂 I love the practice of daily gratitude and each day I write 5 things i am grateful for today and why. I recently did an online 30 day challenge on http;//whatamigratefulfortoday.com which was very empowering and i continued this more detailed way each day in a journal.
Today i am truly grateful for my so positive kidney test results because I know my healthy eating and positive being has been powerful
in gratiude and with lots of hugs Suzie xxoo
Youre a beacon of love and light my dear. I can just see you sitting calmly at the beach being so calm and at peace. Ahh…one day I want to come to sit with you at that beach 🙂
May you be blessed with health and happiness always Suzie.
With love and gratitude~
I am so very grateful to be reading one of my daughter’s college text books. Back in 1993 in the neonatal ward standing over her incubator I would never of thought that this little 3 pound baby would be presently double majoring in art history/cultural anthropology. And I would never have dreamed that I would be reading her ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ ‘Nonviolent Power In Action’ college text from a previous term.
I would of never dreamed that on this day that you and who ever else in the world who so chooses would be reading the last sentence that my daughter high lighted in this book:
“…that Gandhi developed between swaraj and satyagraha: that we become liberated from fear and distrust as we are empowered by truthfulness and nonviolent actions; that freedom is not merely licence because it must also mean a social awareness and responsibility that comes with a sense of human connectedness.”
Sonnet to Gratitude
Oh God thank you for the grandparents that I never knew.
My life does not grieve gratitude.
God breathe death thy multitude.
Thank you for old people and wisdom too.
Oh God thank you for my parents who I once knew.
Spawning brothers and sisters what chance thy magnitude?
Thank you for your son who I know in solitude.
Oh God thank you for my son who I once knew.
For letting me have an Irish wife once, but not twice.
For the blessings of my daughters as they come and go.
For ease and difficult moments of life equally I suffice.
For having everything because a friend glows.
For having nothing because of the price.
Oh God thank you for borrowed grandparents and eternal flow.
I am so grateful to be able to *connect* with the beautiful people of this world community 🙂
Thank you Zeenat for bringing us together,,,
Your comment brings back fond memories 🙂 I’d rather not dive into them here 😉
But yes, I am grateful for our connection. You enrich my life with your words Rand. Always!
Your grandfather reminds me of my husband Zeenat. On our exceedingly hot and humid Florida days when most are wilting and…yes complaining…you’ll hear him say “it keeps me loose.”
I am grateful for the many blessings in my life. I truly am blessed every day.
WOW you are lucky to have an optimistic hubby 🙂 Between me and my hubs…I have to maintain the optimism for the two of us 😉
May your blessings grow and grow abundantly.
Thank you for your lovely comment here.
Hi Zeenat, maybe something else for your parenting post? Abundance Tapestry ”Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, … For they have their own thoughts. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. ” Khalil Gibran
Brad my friend….I do love Khalil Gibran..and this quote is amazing. Thank you fro sharing it here. I’ll definitely use it in the Parenting post.
Here’s a thought.
How about a list (maybe a second one?) that lists all the things we’d normally want to ignore? I’m suggesting a list of all the annoyances, the “failures,” the problems, the sucky things that crop up.
What about making that kind of list too and being just as grateful for them as for all the other little and big things that it’s more easy to be grateful for? After all, what is, is. And aren’t all things there for us to experience, learn from and benefit from?
Hey, it might really be transforming! 🙂
Right on Carmelo!
Thats just what I was shooting for in the sonnet that I wrote for this post.
…think I’ll let my former ‘Irish wife’ read it at the risk of a hard ear pull 😦
…though knowing her she also would be laughing like hell 🙂
Hahahaha … go for it.
Youre right!!! We ought to be thankful for the failures too…cause they infact pave the way for greener pastures 🙂
PLUS I love your energy in this comment. May I ask where it all comes from 😉
Thank you for your lovely suggestions here.
Wow, Zeenat. You perceived my energy! Well, I think we both know where energy comes from. It’s probably a matter of not blocking it, right?
Sometimes the “other party” pulls it out and sometimes it just can’t be stopped. (I’ll let you guess which was which in this case) 😉
You’re pretty cool, Zeenat. I like you. 🙂
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I loved reading this post, Zeenat! How lucky you are to have had a grandfather like that. My mother is like that, too. I feel extremely blessed. I have come to really appreciate gratitude and the difference between just being optimistic and happy about life. Real gratitude for EVERYTHING is amazing. And I know that’s the type you’re talking about. Thanks for sharing.
Ahhh…an optimistic mother is a true blessing 🙂 When we grow up being thankful for everything…happiness comes but naturally.
I’m so glad youre a happy gratitude gal 🙂
Thank you for your awesome comment here.
Thank you for this post Zeenat. Every day I list down the things I am grateful for – They range from something as trivial as seeing a beautiful flower on the way to work or appreciation on a assignment well done – I deliberately try to erase the not so pleasant things from my life and concentrate on just the positives ! But sometimes doing that is really really hard. I try to be a positive person always .. but sometimes I fail 😦
Being a positive person doesn’t mean you have down days too. I have those days too. But we learn from those down days and bounce back stronger…there in you become far more positive and stronger than you ever were.
Our negatives are what make us appreciate the positives in our lives. Embrace those negatives and make a conscious effort to add even more positivity to your life.
And on those days when you are down..and need someone to vent to…I’m here always
Thank you for being such a loving gratitude gal.
So Much Love~
Happiness is found in so many ways and forms… worth sharing what we know. Thanks for your blog,
It would be great if you could participate in co-creating happiness. Here is the link to the project: http://www.indiegogo.com/FallinginLovewithLife?c=home&a=125625
And here is the link to our facebook page
Hope to count you in.
Maria Briggs, co-creating happiness.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful community here. Co creating Happiness sounds like so much fun!
I’m glad you like Positive Provocations too 🙂
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