Rx Gratitude: Medicine for Everyday
Things look better when we’re grateful
We can still find love for our lives, difficult as they are, when we focus with the eyes of gratitude upon what we have been given. None of us were promised anything in this life. Not health, not long life, not freedom from pain. Friends and loved ones are imperfect humans and will disappoint us. Their choices, what happens to them, and how they treat us will cause us pain. The world is an imperfect place, and much of what happens is out of our control. It’s just the way things work on our planet. Why create further suffering for ourselves by hating our lives?
Gratitude is our most ever-present, accessible medicine
Everything looks different when we’re grateful. Enjoying a moment with gratitude, we can accept and even begin to love our imperfect lives. We don’t need to punish ourselves further by fixating upon or obsessing about our difficulties. Challenges will always arrive, every day. We don’t need to hold back from happiness and joy, or wait for the shoe to drop, so to speak. Attempts to protect ourselves from suffering can keep us from experiencing bliss. We long for joy! We want to rise above our pain and feel better. Gratitude is the medicine, and we hold its healing power in our hands.
Soak it up
Over-focusing upon pain or fear will not help you to enjoy or love your life. In fact, it keeps you in either a numbed state, or a place of slightly anxious hypervigilance. Don’t get me wrong: do experience the depth of your emotions. Do your trauma work. Feel your pain. And… also… saturate yourself with the cleansing, comforting relief found in gratefulness. Wrap yourself in it like a soft blanket.
It takes bravery, but we can do both these things at once: we can allow our pain with tenderness, while soaking in the warm bath of gratitude.
Notice when you are obsessing
about dark things
When you find yourself focusing upon the challenges, or even obsessing upon the crises in your life, catch yourself. Notice your dark thoughts. Then do a quick mental and heart switch: find gratitude for 5 things in your life this moment.
Breathe in and deeply release your outbreath. Feel your body, your feet on the ground. Get into your senses, noticing what you see and hear. Tune into your inner self and the greater outer world. If your surroundings feel chaotic, go both deeper within, into your innermost Essence, and farther out into the universe. Find strength and peace by connecting with the truest you deep inside, and the biggest, boldest, most powerful love in the universe. Be here NOW, instead of insulating, avoiding, grabbing a substance to numb, obsessing, ruminating, withdrawing or sleeping. Simultaneously, feel gratitude. The infusion of gratefulness can impact your full body and the bubble of energy around you. You’ll feel the medicine of joy, love and hope spreading through your whole being and out into your life.
Switch: Focus upon what you’re grateful for
We can handle our discomfort, anger, inner torment and even our deepest despair when we bravely catch our negative thoughts, get real & raw, then simultaneously focus upon what good there is. Even if the good seems random. All of it is simply what Is, for now. All of this will change. What Is now will not last; we know for certain that change will occur and tomorrow will be different. So, try flipping an inner switch and say: I have a roof over my head. I have food. I have water. I am alive, and life is a gift I never asked for. I can raise my lips in a tiny smile. I can breathe in, and the huge release of my outbreath calms me.
Be tender toward yourself and transform
When I observe myself feeling depressed, anxious and fearful, I often literally wrap my arms around myself in the moment and bravely bring tender mercy into my pain. Breathing in, I replenish with the fresh air of kindness. Breathing a huge outbreath, I transform just a little bit in this instant.
Come back into your heart
Stretching into gratitude this specifically can alter your mindset, calm your sympathetic nervous system, and help you move from shock, trauma, anger or devastation into moments of brave poise, accepting what Is in this Now. Gratefulness brings you back into your loving, compassionate heart. Your eyes become unclouded, and with broadened perspective, you see through the bare eyes of grace instead of through the dark glasses of the brain’s negative bias of trauma, anxiety or fear.
Enveloped in gratitude, the volume of Fear’s voice is reduced, and your own loving heart holds your pain with deep nurturing.
Gratitude is a prescription for loving life and for conscious bravery.