Gratitude - the Key to Transformation
When I grew up my parents taught me to say "thank you" every time I was given a present, or as part of table manners. Being a "good girl" I had integrated these two words pretty well in my life, not giving them too much thought.
However, some time in 1996, someone mentioned a slightly different concept to me. As it has been following me, I would like to share its various aspects with you.
The first person to light the spark for me had listened to Oprah talk about keeping a 'gratitude book'. In it, we were to write down and be grateful for 5 things that had occured during the day. Oprah had heard about this idea and, after trying it out for herself, had found it quite helpful.
I was intrigued by it as well and after only a short while realized that it was changing my outlook on the world quite considerably. By looking for 10 (I had increased the number) things and events to be thankful for each night, I focused on something positive last thing before going to sleep. What also happened during the day was that I made mental notes of positive incidents to write down at night. Quite generally, I found myself concentrating much more on positive events.
Soon after I had started keeping my gratitude journal, it also came up for the people I work with in Kinesiology sessions. Muscle testing suggested that it would be beneficial for them, too, to take up this practice.
A little time down the road, muscle testing guided me to change the procedure slightly. We split up the 10 items. 5 were to be written down at the end of the day, referring to what had happened. 5 were to be written down first thing in the morning, gratefully anticipating the events of the day and sending them positive energy ahead of time. These morning items incorporated the concept that we all create our own reality, through the power God has given us.
Things don't quite stop at this point. Guess what ideas are mentioned in the book 'Conversations with God' by Neale Donald Walsch: "The correct prayer is a prayer of gratitude. When you thank God in advance for that which you choose to experience in your reality, you, in effect, acknowledge that it is there... in effect. Thankfulness is the most powerful statement to God; an affirmation that even before you ask, I have answered... How then can I be truly grateful for something I know is not there? - Faith. If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you shall move mountains. You come to know it is there because I said it is there; because I said that, even before you ask, I shall have answered; because I said, and have said to you in every conceivable way, through every teacher you can name, that whatsoever you shall choose, choosing it in My Name, so shall it be.... If, therefore, you beg and supplicate, there seems a much smaller chance that you will experience what you think you are choosing, because the Sponsoring Thought (the controlling thought) behind every supplication is that you do not have now what you wish. That Sponsoring Thought becomes your reality. The only Sponsoring Thought which could override this thought is the thought held in faith that God will grant whatever is asked, without fail." (pp.11-12)
Still in the process of figuring all this out and understanding the impact of gratitude on my life and my more positive attitude, I started reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's book, 'Simple Abundance'. Soon I was wondering if that is where Oprah picked up the idea in the first place. Sarah describes how gratitude awakened her heart: "I looked at my life with open eyes. I saw that I had so much for which to be grateful. I felt humbled by my riches and regretted that I took for granted the abundance that already existed in my life" (despite all the things that she would have liked to buy but could'nt afford). "How could I expect more from the Universe when I didn't appreciate what I already had?... I started giving thanks for everything... The difference was that I was now noticing and appreciating each day's gifts. The power of gratefulness caught me by surprise."
Sarah then explains her idea of a "daily gratitude journal", which for her "is not an option" since "all other principles that can transform your life will not blossom and flourish without gratitude."
From my own experience and from watching the people around me who keep a gratitude book, I certainly have to agree with her. "You will not be the same person two months from now, after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given to you."
One other way of expressing gratitude was presented to me by my Higher Self one night. Everybody knows the refrain: "Singing yeah, yeah, yippee, yippee, yeah..." To this tune, you can easily find your own words or sing along with me:
I am grateful for this day and for the sun (2x),
I am grateful (4x),
I am grateful for this day and for the sun.
I am grateful - for my husband and my child.
Whenever I sing this song, preferably by myself in the car, I feel uplifted and energized. Try it for yourself and let the creative part of you be your guide.
Self Esteem for Teens