In the month of November, many people focus on being thankful and expressing gratitude. But it’s much more than a holiday-season elixir. Gratitude practices have been promoted by psychologists and spiritual disciplines alike as one of the most potent ways to create what we want in our lives: from feeling happier, to having better health and stronger relationships, to more financial abundance.
Gratitude is definitely a great way to move out of fear and anxiety because we can’t worry and be grateful at the same time. And—even during challenges—the power of gratitude helps us get over the bumps and go around the potholes in life.
The Energy of a New Process
Whether at work, home cooking dinner or just going about our daily routine, we have felt a powerful shift of energy over the past year. Have you noticed? Even with the chaos and drama in the outer world, we feel an energy beckoning us, inviting us into something deeper, something new. It’s calling us to do something different, moving us to a new level of understanding about what is important in our world.
Can you hear the new vibration calling us to stay focused on creating more of what we want in life, instead of getting distracted by all we balance each day?
Is this energy something that gives you more clarity to make the choices that truly support you, your purpose, your health and your peace of mind? Or is it something that gives you the courage to move in a new direction and pursue something you feel passionate or joyful about doing?
Amid this shift in energy, we were curious to see what would happen if we tried to expand our gratitude practice. We made a list of the varied gifts in our lives for which we are grateful, those things that reflect great abundance but are often overlooked in our day-to-day activities. These gifts combined to form a list we now call the “8 Sparks of Gratitude.” The final number of Sparks we arrived at gave us great delight because the number 8 represents prosperity and infinity; balance and power; personal power; self-confidence; and starting anew.
Now, let’s take a look at the “8 Sparks of Gratitude” we identified in our exploration:
1. GIFT OF SELF-LOVE. This is the spark that lights the way to being kind, compassionate and loving to ourselves.
2. GIFT OF HEALTH/WELL-BEING. This is the spark that lights the avenues to health and well-being for our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual facets.
3. GIFT OF GOODS. This is the spark that sheds light on appreciating (but not becoming attached to) goods (material stuff) that meet needs and desires.
4. GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP/RELATIONSHIP. This is the spark that electrifies our sense of identity and belonging.
5. GIFT OF PASSION/TALENT. This is the spark that ignites a glow within us and increases our natural radiance.
6. GIFT OF SERVICE. This is the spark that energizes us to be of help to others.
7. GIFT OF TIME. This is the spark that rejuvenates our heart space, creating a sense of peace, calm and presence.
8. GIFT OF SPIRITUALITY/CONNECTION. This is the spark that awakens our focus, intuition, and inspiration—connecting us to our Higher Self.
From Spark to Fire
How can we use these 8 sparks to increase the concrete evidence of abundance and the gifts of giving and receiving in our lives? One way to begin is to focus on one of the 8 gifts for one week and record the actions of giving and receiving on a calendar. It’s time to set those Sparks on fire!
For our “experiment,” we used a daily calendar and wrote the number of the Spark and used the code G for “Giver” and R for “Receiver” to indicate whether we gave the gift or received it. On some days we had both the G and the R!
Each day this process made us feel like we had given ourselves a gift. And we found tangible evidence of abundance in our lives. Insights kept flashing! We noticed that there was an overlap among the Sparks. For example, we found that a Gift of Friendship could also connect with the Gift of Time and the Gift of Service. On the calendar, we used the number of the first Gift that we identified and the main Spark for any given day.
Here are some of our personal findings after a week of practice:
- Our feeling of self-worth increases as we see the abundance we receive and the gifts we willingly give.
- The more we receive, the more we have to give in the energy of the circle of giving and receiving.
- We are more mindful and present during the day; we see opportunities to give and observe the gifts received.
- A conscious focus on the 8 Sparks propelled us to stretch and to give and receive in new ways.
- During challenging times, we now know the power of gratitude can help us change our perspective and see every situation as a growth opportunity.
- Since the Sparks ignite each other, we know that a gift we gave or received could be a combination of several of the 8 Sparks.
- Journal notes, as an additional form of documentation, recorded the magic of the experience to be enjoyed again and again.
We realized that gratitude is a “two-fold process that equals the whole,” forming the figure 8 as the complementary parts of giving and receiving.
Dance with Gratitude
“The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . . giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.” —The Chopra Center
Our collaboration during this practice week created a waterfall of giving and receiving. For example, the Gift of Friendship created a deeper bond in our lives, the Gift of Time allowed us to create a new process, the Gift of Passion contributed to the sharing of information, and the Gift of Connection brought us new insights.
Documenting our Sparks created more abundance, joy and gratitude in all areas of our life—more ease and magic than we could have ever imagined.
What if giving yourself a daily gratitude practice could help lighten your load, create space in your life, help you take better care of yourself, and give you more purpose, clarity and focus on what’s really important to you? Try it and observe what happens!
Light up your life, let the Sparks fly and allow the positive energy shine.
Linda Williams, M.A., is the founder of relationSHAPE™ and Linda Williams Consulting. Her vision is to transform people’s interactions by using communication strategies and tools that cultivate the respectful speaking of truths and compassionate listening. Linda imparts her knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to utilize practical approaches that make a difference in the quality of personal and work relationships. She is a facilitator, mentor and consultant to organizations and individuals nationwide. In her seminars, Linda develops an interactive, supportive, safe and fun learning environment She is also the communications director for the Sarasota, FL, Living in Community Network. Contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.relationshape.today.
Bonnie Snyder, Ed.S., CPC, DCEP, designed the Online Virtual Spa®, at SerenityPathways.com, where you can de-stress in 10 minutes or less. Bonnie creates short, elegant pathways through her coaching programs and products, which are stepping-stones to a more graceful way of living. Her powerful blend of easy, quick, high-impact techniques incorporates both practical and spiritual components for change. Bonnie also is a Professional Life Balance Coach, a Graduate of the Authentic Happiness Coaching Program, a Diplomat in Energy Psychology, and the author of the book Angel Violet’s Magic Wings, a storybook tool for children and parents. Contact Bonnie at Bonnie@diamondpathways.com or online at www.diamondpathways.com.