It’s the holiday season, but maybe gratitude is the last thing you’re feeling. Maybe you or your family is going through a really rough time right now, like the aftermath of Newton, Hurricane Sandy or other tragedy. Maybe you’re alone, or even more ironic, feeling lonely in the middle of family and friends.
What can you do? Start being grateful. If this seems foreign or you can’t relate to the idea of being grateful because you’re overwhelmed or bouncing back and forth between complaining and endless wanting, it may be a little tougher to find something in your life to celebrate right now.
But you probably can find some basic gratitude somewhere. Like for the basic elements of life itself, for example. You might try this simple exercise of “Elemental Gratitude.” It’s a practice that can be traced back over 2000 years to many spiritual traditions, including Native American, Buddhist, Yogic and Taoist philosophies.
The basic idea is that through expressing gratitude for the simple elements of existence -- things like the air, water, fire and earth, and electrons that make us up -- it becomes easier to develop and feel real gratitude for everything, life, all of existence. “And then it can become easier to find real gratitude in your own personal life situation,” says Olivia Rosewood, who regularly practices this ancient art.
She simply carves out a few minutes of quiet time, breathing and saying out loud or to herself, "The air is good. The air within me is good. I am grateful for air… The earth is good. The earth within me is good. I am grateful for earth… The water is good. The water within me is good. I am grateful for water…. The fire is good. The fire within me is good. I am grateful for fire."
Other simple keys. The practice of meditation, which Olivia also recommends in the Huffington Post article about her, is similar to this. When you get out of your head and into your heart, gratitude can more spontaneously burst into flames.
The simple, Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono is another great example. Simply repeating the phrase “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” over and over again, especially applying it to agonizing, frustrating situations you can’t control (like your partner or irritating family members) creates a mysterious, transformative flow of energy that you don’t have to understand to employ.
It shifts things and takes on a life of its own. And it heals, too. Do a little research and read my YourTango Straight Talk about What You’re Seeing in the Mirror article about the literal miracles this simple practice has created.