“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for”
To find a moment everyday to express gratitude for at least one thing in your life would change your life dramatically. Let’s look at that mirror again that I mentioned in The Victorious Body. Getting naked is optional this time. Bring your focus on where your heart is. Feel that rhythm in your chest responsible for giving you a fresh new day of life. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have one that works perfectly. If you are amongst those with the good fortune of a healthy heart, be so grateful for it that you can practically feel the gratitude pumping in through your veins and expanding throughout your entire body. What about your eyes that give you the privilege to see the phenomenon of the world around you? Your ears that can translate vibration into beautiful music and conversation? Your lips that allow you to express the emotion of love in the form of a kiss? Be grateful for all that you have even though you may not have it all. Let the experience of having it be the reason you cherish it rather than waiting for the experience of losing it to teach you its value.
Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle. The other as though everything is a miracle.” I didn’t understand this at first and it wasn’t until more recently that I was able to see the truth in his statement. When you are grateful for the world around you and all that exists in it, your perception is changed from seeing the “big picture” to seeing all the little things that are necessary in order for that “big picture” to exist. It is those little things that are often overlooked that are the miracles, like your beating heart.
In January of 2013, I was fortunate enough to have taken part in a 30 day gratitude quest put together by my dear friend Mike Sherbakov, founder of The Greatness Foundation. Each day I posted a picture (via Facebook and Instagram) of something I was grateful for and wrote a brief description of it. I thought I did a pretty good job appreciating my life prior to this gratitude quest, but the conscious effort of doing it for 30 days straight brought in a new and permanent awareness that I was not quite able to get a full grasp on before.
I was living in NYC at the time and the month of January became one of the most beautiful months of my life. I walked around the gorgeous city of New York with so much love in my heart, noticing what I had never noticed before, reacting to things in ways that surprised me. Suddenly, my dreaded 15 minute walk to the train every morning in the freezing cold changed. It became my time to be grateful for my two legs that gave me the privilege to experience the city on foot and for my strong body that gave me the endurance to work and make a living. When things came up that would normally have upset me, I became quick to let them go because I was focused on the abundance of all that I had to be grateful for.
That is the consequence of gratitude. It awakens your heart and refocuses your mind. It calms you the way the sound of the ocean does, yet it energizes you the way watching a sunrise would. In the midst of chaos, in the middle of traffic, after a hard day at work, or simply right now, pick one thing to be grateful for. With all of your heart, with every resonating atom in your body, be truly thankful for it. It will inevitably make you smile.
Your entire mood can be shifted by a single expression of gratitude. The choice is always yours. You can let life just happen to you OR you can live it with intention and purpose. Gratitude is your finest tool for enhancing your life. Feel free to utilize it.