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So I was asked recently how to start a Gratitude Practice and how it actually helps…

And well in all honesty… gratitude practice in times like this can be like trying to teach Japanese to people that don’t want to speak it…

It is a language which, once we can get over the feeling of awkwardness of trying to be grateful for things that in the past we were naturally grateful for… it can be life changing… we see things differently…

Like, I love my kids with all my heart, I love being around them… this is natural… so now forget about the natural relationship and begin to be more grateful for them… this is often how it can be sold…

Gratitude… can absolutely be one of the easiest things in the world… then why can’t we remember to be more grateful when life takes a tumble? Why do we immediately revert back to primal instincts when what we really need is to accept what is happening, accept that right now life is s*it, and remember the wonderful things around you……..

So, gratitude practice, in general, without having a base of acceptance will be a short lived experience…

Having returned recently from a course where we had a ‘mindset coach’ teaching about how to be more grateful, and bringing up feelings of emotion for my kids, roof over my head, loving wife and and the air I breathe…

Things that, for me, are so easy to get emotional about. When someone says to you to remember why you truly love your kids, and exploring that connection… this can make you feel euphoric, but just like any buzz it will soon leave you feeling down and depressed as you can feel like a failure, like you have let them down… (I say this only because I have been there myself).

I found that there was no real depth with some ‘gratitude practices’… especially some that I have been seeing online of late.

The – ‘practice gratitude for a better mental health’… ‘remember to write down every morning what you are grateful for’… and then afterwards be stuck with out employment… without income… without anything other than those people that you love deeply… how can you be grateful to life… if you didn’t have a solid contemplative practice already. 

It is very similar to practices of inner child work… you tell someone to remember bad times as a kid, they will, and 99% of the time they will get emotional… and feel a release, but often this doesn’t help… and sometimes can leave people feeling more attached to the old feelings that resurface…

So, please… if you want to practice gratitude… start with practicing acceptance or at least build a base in contemplative practices…

Accept that you can’t change your current situation, accept that you are doing your best, accept that nothing is going to change in the not to distant future and your gratitude practice will bare longer term fruit as you will be living with the freshness of the present moment, without the looming fear of failure and worthlessness that can often come without it…

Now acceptance doesn’t mean forgiveness… it doesn’t make things better, like gratitude practice, all it does is let you release some of the unnecessary burden you are putting yourself under and help you to remember the things in your life that matter the most…

Acceptance before gratitude will give you the freedom to allow those simple, amazing things back into your life that have been consumed by this impermanent society.

Whats your thoughts? Without a solid contemplative practice could you become more grateful?

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