Gratitude rewrites the old stories, puts a fresh face on them, and releases them.
It’s November! Plans for the big Thanksgiving feast dominate. Is everyone going to mom’s house? Is the family coming to you? Who’s in charge of Uncle Eddie this year? When is grandma going to be picked up? How many tables do we need for the kids? As the plans unfold, little time is spent on the meaning of the word Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s okay. After all, if five minutes every day were spent instead on what it means to be thankful, maybe it will all balance out.
Thankfulness is a most beautiful secret of life. Done for Five Minutes a Day, gratitude allows a soft feeling to arise inside when simple little pleasures are experienced. It’s an emotional expression of joyfulness and appreciation that soothes all other emotions. In this state of mind, a great surge opens the heart. The results are sincere feelings of well-being that say, “All is right with the world today.”
With all that going for it, why is it so difficult to be grateful? It’s especially perplexing when the daily doses of negative news and snarky social media comments cast a constant pall over the nation’s collective psyche. The antidote of doing a Five Minutes a Day practice is not difficult. All that’s required is the individual take a breath then look around and find something—anything—to be grateful for.
Being grateful doesn’t require huge things to happen. Build on the little things that surround you. Perhaps you slept well the night before. There are those without a roof overhead or a bed to sleep in. Perhaps gratitude is you woke up! The alternative is, you didn’t. Or how about being grateful for seeing a gorgeous sunrise! That’s an immense gratitude to proclaim when you contemplate the person who has no eyesight.
Three years ago a local “gratitude practice” was created on Facebook. It’s since grown to include people all over the United States. Dozens share their small happenings every morning. Those too shy to write on social media send emails saying their lives changed. By focusing on the practice they no longer felt hopeless. One woman keeps a journal of her Five Minutes a Day. It makes her feel empowered and, in her words, “rich beyond her wildest dreams.”
The Five Minutes a Day gratitude forces a halt in your personal expectations. Instead, it begs you to refocus on what’s already there and present in your life. It tips the scale by accepting your already evident bounty—no matter how small or insignificant. It restores a sense of balance by focusing on the positive instead of the negative. And it changes our moods and behaviors.
The daily practice of gratitude begets more gratitude. Life stories are revealed. The joy of visiting grandchildren is widely shared as gratitude with other grandmothers. During an illness, practitioners support each other through shared emotions and encouragement. Even the gratitude of a morning cup of hot tea, shared across the country, can elicit joyful responses along with suggestions of different types of teas to try.
Most of us carry around a large sack filled with our many stories. Gratitude rewrites the old stories, puts a fresh face on them, and releases them. The flood of resulting sweet feelings acts like a natural antidepressant to the coarseness experienced outside that boundary. Gratitude for the little things colors everything else. In that rainbow of appreciation, our biology changes, our attitudes change, and our love actually grows a bit deeper for Five Minutes a Day. Wishing you grateful thanks every day – not just on Thanksgiving!
Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Along with Patricia Cockerill, she has guided the Women’s Meditation Circle since January 2006 where it has been honored for five years in a row as the “Favorite Meditation” group in Sarasota, FL, by Natural Awakenings Magazine. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to http://www.starsoundings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.