I wrote this post because I was in a bit of a funk. Y’know, dwelling on the not-so-good things. Not focusing enough upon what I really want, which is to be happy. Really, truly, in-my-cells HAPPY. The kind of happiness that is the result of being consciously, blissfully in love with and in the flow of God or Source or the Universe (however you think of it) – and from which all other desires and awesomeness pours out. Yeah, THAT kind of happy. Life as an artist happy. That is my biggest desire.
When I find myself going down the rabbit hole of anything OTHER than that… I focus on gratitude. As a human being, it’s the single simplest, most effective thing I’ve found that shifts my internal tides. As an artist… well, Friedrich Nietzsche said it best:
“The essence of all beautiful art, great art, is gratitude.”
Here’s The Thing…
Being grateful isn’t the same for everyone. For some it’s just saying “thank you”… for others it’s a way of living life.
LIVING in gratitude is almost a form of prayer for me. When I consistently focus on being grateful I’m more aware, thoughtful, present. I move a little slower, do a little less – yet I get more done. (one of my favorite dichotomies!). I don’t get mad or irritated as often, I don’t judge myself or others so much. I get better ideas, feel more hopeful, am generally… happier. Yay happier! The work I create feels deeper, more from my innerds. It’s original. Meaningful. I’m less swayed by what others think. Happier about others’ success. I’m rarely frustrated. Everything is more fun… and I find myself giggling alot more. Even better; I experience spontaneous joy in surprising and unexpectedly delightful ways.
Contrary to popular opinion, gratitude isn’t passive. It’s an active choice about what you focus upon. But here’s the thing… and the reason I started making this list in the first place. Once the wellspring is opened up, I truly find endless ways to express gratitude. Like begets like, which is a fantastic natural law to remember. So here’s my list of today… which will change and evolve as I do!
- Stop for a moment. Yeah, just that… stop. Take a breath. Be grateful you’re alive in this moment.
- Get a hug – and give one. My mom used to say it takes 12 hugs a day for optimal health.
- Photograph something you love. Better yet – ONLY photograph things you love.
- Genuinely compliment a stranger. Be authentic and not creepy when you do.
- Give an anonymous Starbucks gift card to someone. (Or substitute Starbucks for your local coffee or tea house.)
- Pay the bridge toll for the guy behind you.
- Write down 10 blessings in your life. Do it now. Then watch for even more to occur to you. Write them down too. Don’t stop.
- Take a moment to appreciate whatever camera you have now. If you want a better one, that’s fine. Just appreciate that you even own one. Not everyone does.
- Enjoy a sunrise.
- Stop and experience a sunset without taking a picture of it. Just bathe in it.
- Feel delight when you process a photo and it turns out well.
- Be grateful the opportunity to process a photo, period.
- Drink a glass of water – then be grateful you have clean water to drink.
- Take your mom/dad to lunch. Just because.
- Be true to yourself all day today.
- Connect with that friend you’ve been meaning to reach out to, but just haven’t.
- Stop procrastinating. Decide to either do it – or not. Make a clear choice one way or the other so it stops lurking around head and makes room for something better.
- Take the first step. You know which one.
- Take a dream nap. I have a Native America friend who, takes naps for the sole purpose of dreaming her answers, ideas, inspirations.
- Do 3 things that make you feel good today. Thank yourself for doing it.
- Be generous in some way today. Time, money, attention, presence… whatever.
- Thank everyone who does something nice for you today.
- Give yourself a break.
- Go to bed early or late – whichever makes you feel more luxurious.
- Know yourself, in whatever way that makes sense for you… today. Tomorrow, you’ll know more.
- Figure out what you love – and do that. If in doubt, start small.
- Love, period.
- Got a TV? How cool is that! Appreciate it.
- Randomly text a friend to tell them you love them and were thinking about them.
- Meditate. Just 15 minutes. See what it’s like.
- Close your eyes and listen to music that makes you feel good.
- Give thanks for the ability to take photographs.
- Take time to connect to Source, the Universe, God, your Higher Power.
- Connect with people, love your friends
- Donate something to a cause you like. Even if it’s a tiny amount – or your time.
- Think about what you WANT instead of what you don’t want.
- Help other people.
- Praise someone you work with, or whose work you love.
- Tip bigger than usual for great service.
- Be amazed.
- Let yourself be awed by simple things.
- Sing in the shower.
- Take a walk.
- Get outside and breathe air. Be grateful that you can.
- Be glad to be alive. Not everyone is. But you should be.
- Make a decision to be happy. It’s funny, but sometimes you simply have to make the choice.
- Give yourself a hug. Mean it.
- Laugh out loud.
- Think about someone else first.
- Stop and smell a flower.
- If you hear live music and like what you hear… put some cash in the tip jar.
- Give thanks for your car, bike or whatever mode of transportation you have.
- Take a moment to appreciate any little thing that goes right, or turns out well. These things build on themselves if you do.
- Experience joy.
- Say “I love that” about something today. Mean it.
- Read some Rumi. Or whatever kind of inspiring poetry that catches your eye.
- Appreciate that you have a voice. Use it well.
- Close your eyes and chew slowly as you take a bite of your favorite food. Savor it. Taste it with your whole self.
- Take care of your body.
- Take care of your mind.
- The next time you’re tempting to judge – flip it around and imagine yourself in their shoes. Let your heart melt a little.
- Imagine that thoughts are things. What do you REALLY want filling up your house?
- Appreciate your hearing… listen to birds more.
- Get out in nature.
- Take a mini-vacation, no matter how small.
- Love light. Seek it.
- Listen more.
- Learn something new.
- Take a bath or shower – and appreciate the hot water that makes it so heavenly.
- Sponsor a child. World Vision is a good organization, but there are others too.
- Smile more. Genuinely.
- Eat food that makes you feel good on the inside. Appreciate that you HAVE food.
- Take action on a dream. Any action – none is too small!
- Appreciate this moment. Then the next. And the next. And the… well, you get my drift.
- Love where you are right now.
- Keep it simple.
- Stop what you’re doing (keep driving, if you’re doing that!)… and take 5 deep, slow breaths. Let yourself slow down inside.
- See what there is to love about where you are right now… and photograph it.
- Be your most ideal YOU… your best version of yourself you can think of.
- Just do it.
- Be grateful for all the new people in your life.
- For that matter, be grateful for ALL the people in your life. Like them or not, they’re all there for a reason.
- Do something just for you. If you’re normally selfish – do something just for them.
- Surprise a friend or family member with dinner out. Or a photo outing, if that’s what they love!
- If you’re new to this whole notion of being intentionally grateful, look up Gratitude on Wikipedia.
- Donate – even a dollar or two – to your favorite organization, cause or nonprofit. See how it feels.
- Love light.
- Fall to sleep at night imagining what you most want to feel, have or do – in vivid detail, like it was happening NOW.
- Live to connect and love… to people, nature, God.
- Create good things.
- Be the kind of person kids look up to. Heck, be the kind of person YOU look up to!
- Be honest with yourself.
- Learn to speak from kindness and compassion.
- Drink more water.
- Write a thank you note or a love note to yourself… include even little things… and read it to yourself before you go to bed.
- Give more.
- Receive graciously and with gratitude.
- Love. I may have mentioned this one before… but it bears repeating, since at the end of the day, THIS one is the Beginning and the End.
I Take Thee, This Moment
I take this moment to be grateful. Because one thing I know for sure; what we focus upon most multiplies itself.
I know that by taking this moment to use my imagination and focus on the things I want to create, the way I want to feel, I am taking most definite steps to creating them. And right now, I choose to focus upon gratitude. Thankfulness. For all the blessings I do have right now, no matter how small they may seem. If I am hearing this right now I am grateful, because it means I am alive. And I have all I need to create the world I want to live in. It means I am so close to it. Right now. In this moment. As I reflect on all I do have all the good that I have experienced and I’m excited about all that is to come I am grateful. For second chances. For opportunities. For friends, family, love, smiles, for favorite foods,. As I am grateful for even the smallest things, gratitude expands and fills my entire being with lights, and love. And as I dwell upon that it expands even more and I am grateful.
That’s Me. You?
So, that’s me. My story du jour. What I’m thinking about now. Tomorrow – well, we’ll talk. But today is about gratitude. I am grateful for you. That you took the time to stop by. That you’re HERE.
And now.. what about you? What are YOU grateful for? How shall we extend this list? I’d love to know!