Why I Taught Myself to (Mostly)Stay in Gratitude

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

I’m one of those people who believes we have a great deal of control over how we feel. This is an attitude I’ve gradually adopted over years, even decades. Back in my 30s and even early 40s I thought ideas about being grateful were sappy. The idea of a gratitude journal or writing 3 things I’m grateful for daily often made me feel at least slightly nauseous.

In the late 1980s I was exposed to the idea that we could control our future through something called the Law of Attraction. As I recall I was mostly concerned with abundance and like so many I did it all wrong. In short, I gave to get which usually doesn’t work very well for a variety of reasons. It’s far better to give in order to give.

First, What the Bleep Do We Know burst into popular culture. This movie, which many called unscientific, was a bid mind bending, lots of fun and lent some credence to ideas about creating your own reality. This was followed in 2006 with the movie, The Secret which if nothing else made more people aware of what became labeled a New Age way of thinking. Since I’ve always felt there’s much more going on than we’re generally aware of both of these appealed to me.

Plus I also began to see that pretty much I got what I really wanted in life. Not everything, but enough so I wondered if there a way to have more of what I truly desired.

The biggest success example back then was my five months spent cruising the south Pacific on small sailboats — nothing larger than 40 ft. or so. While that wasn’t exactly a conscious manifestation, I sort of understood I’d made a decision I wanted to spend time at sea after I discovered boats and began to develop skills and methods that led to the trip.

My life has been good so far and several years ago one friend began to push me toward a study of Abraham-Hicks. It didn’t convince me but apparently opened my mind some. Over the next year or so I acquired a few more friends who seemed to thrive on this type of belief system so I read more widely and probably with less skepticism.

That eventually led me to Dr. Joe Dispenza who first healed himself from a horrendous injury and then decided to dive deeply into how seemingly spontaneous healing might actually work. He’s studied the science then begun to conduct measurements of brain waves and more during the seminars he gives around the world. He also studied Quantum Physics.

One of Dr. Joe’s ideas is that our brain tends to be a record of the past and if we don’t make an effort to stay in the present moment and dream about the future as we’d like it to be, nothing much will change. He also puts a lot of faith in gratitude, suggesting we be grateful even before something has happened.

I live in a small community and we have some nifty gardens. Since I’m one of the earliest risers here it’s fallen to me to start the fountain every morning. We have charm of humming birds (yes, a charm is the word birders use to describe a flock or gathering of the powerful tiny flyers). It seemed like they came to expect me to plug the fountain in so they could drink at their leisure.

Before long I recognized that every time I saw one or more of these delightful wee ones I felt my hear lift into a more joyful place than I had tended to be in the mornings before I consciously started watching them. It wasn’t long before I made the connection between humming birds and gratitude. The birds make me grateful that I live on this wondrous planet, with all it’s problems and joys; thinking about gratitude reminds me of the little birds.

Gratitude seems to put me more in the present moment. And some of Dr. Joe’s writing supports that. It’s in the present moment that the creative really happens and that creativity is part of our future not our past.

I believe the more I stay in gratitude the more creative I am. I know I tend to be a lot happier when I’m grateful, than when I’m worried about something that happened yesterday, last week or last year or feel helpless in the face of an uncertain future.

I use the icon of the humming bird to tip me in to gratitude when I realize I’m not there. Not surprisingly humming birds have led me to look at other birds, like the flock of red-headed finches we have in residence at the moment, or the visits by the occasional kestrel or small hawk. Just as one news story about a horror can lead to others and a general feeling of being totally bummed, for me the plants and critters that surround me help me be glad I’m here.

I’m betting if you want to move toward more gratitude you can find your own icon, one that will help you move there. And from there who knows where or to what it might lead.

If you do, let me know what your icon turns out to be. Send it to me at: anne.wayman@gmail.com and I may use it anonymously for a future article about gratitude icons.

Write well and often,

Writer, life and writing coach, book ghostwriter, Grandmother, Buddhist. Liberal who listens to the other side, political activist-www.DemocracyCounts.org

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