The Practical Magic of a Daily Gratitude Practice
Why is it so hard to do things that are good for yourself?
I struggle when it comes to instilling simple, healthy habits. Like many of you, I've spent the better part of my life at war with myself, fighting to do things that are good for me.
Sure, I could sit and dissect someone else's life all day long. Got an issue? Let's pull out the tarot and sort it. Feeling scared and unworthy? I know you can do it! I'm the staunchest cheerleader for anyone other than the being staring out from behind my eyes. I know I’m not alone in this.
However, with age comes a newfound gentleness towards myself. At mid-life I’ve learned to step back and gaze at crazy, sexy, beautiful kaleidoscopic life directly, embracing it for what it is without resistance. The pleasure and the pain, the self-doubt and fear, the highs and the lows. To observe life as it unfolds from the larger part of myself extending beyond the physical body is a freedom beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.
It is a pleasure to realize the experience of our lives is just that, an experience. And if we pull back the reins on the petty, small, inconsequential habits keeping our ego firmly in place, our vision widens like the aperture of a camera or an aroused, responsive lover unfurling, relaxing and opening to allow more in. And I am nothing if not greedy when it comes to the good stuff. I want more, more, more. Don’t you?
Years ago, I began a Daily Gratitude Practice with my sister and have been reaping the benefits ever since. Gratitude has the power to turn a crumby morning pleasant. The five or ten minutes I spend writing becomes a visioning place extending tendrils of magic into far reaches of the future. It is always, without fail good because honest, true gratitude is peaceful.
Morning rituals are powerful because they butterfly effect into your day. It is simple to slip into morning meditative or introspective space because you've just awakened from the unconscious underbelly sleep state. You are closer to the Moon/Star/Temperance pool of your subconscious, closer to possibility and your creative imagination.
How to Cultivate a Gratitude Practice
1. Choose a person to email every morning.
Plot and plan with this person. Ideally, your individual will email you with their gratitude list with symbiotic regularity. The gratitude practice is not a place to socialize or check in. Save that for a separate email. Begin each line in your email with, “I am grateful for …”
2. Get cozy, grab your morning coffee, tea or favorite drink.
This is the place for you to gather yourself, examine your interior, check in with how you feel and think about the things you want. Be sure you favorite morning beverage and soft blanket, pillows are handy and available.
3. List all the things you are grateful for.
Write a simple, honest list.
You may begin with gratitude towards your coffee, your favorite pj’s or the electricity illuminating the darkness. It doesn’t matter what you are grateful for as long as it is honest and true. If you are faking, you will feel it.
4. Don't sweat it if you miss a morning.
I’ve run out the door without writing gratitude a million times. It’s easily to compile a list from my phone while sitting on the subway or waiting for an appointment. And if you miss it completely, well, there’s always tomorrow.
5. Add spice.
Write gratitude for things you long for that haven't happened yet. Deliciousness will start unfolding. (Trust me on this one)!
Once your gratitude email is complete, pull your tarot card of the day.
Good luck and cast your cards well!