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BE grateful: thank your Self

What’s not wrong? Why is it that we tend start a conversation with “What’s Wrong”? Inviting each other to lament and one-up each other about how awful our day was, our life is. Inviting a conversation of negativity and depression, anger and sorrow. How about if we ask instead, What’s Not Wrong? Inviting healthy, joyful, and positive reflections on our day. Let’s get in touch with that. With gratitude for all of the things that are not wrong in our life. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is one of the quickest paths to happiness. And yet we are so conditioned to stay within the prison of our sorrow and suffering. So “happy” to share what is going wrong in our life. When did this become the norm? When did our coffee talk turn into whose life is worse? Your brain receives about 11 million bits of information per second but can only process about 40. Therefore, it takes practice to scan for the positive thoughts while screening out the negative. With practice, you can train your brain to be an optimism machine! There are so many things to be grateful for every day. The wonder of the blue sky, the bed you woke up in, the warm shower you took, the job that you have to go to, the car that drove you there, the meal you just ate. If you cannot think of anything, take a breath. Now, be thankful for that breath. “If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, what good is our spiritual practice?” Maha Ghosananda Cultivating gratitude in no way implies that everything is perfect or exactly the way we want it. Gratitude is a very powerful form of mindfulness practice. It simply invites us to stop in our pursuit of those things and be grateful for what we already have. To stop and be present. In the moment. And to enjoy it. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we have the capacity to enjoy life. To appreciate the sunshine, the presence of each other, our breath. We do not have to travel anywhere, buy anything, or complete anything. We can be in touch with these things now. "I am fully present with appreciation for ALL that shows up in my life. It fills me with JOY." It is not difficult to be grateful and thankful for all the things that are going right in our life. When you win the lottery it is easy to be happy! But in those times when things are not quite going as planned and the world seems to be conspiring against you, in these times we need to feel a little hope. Now, gratitude is not an antidote to your life’s problems, but it creates a greater feeling of well-being. It makes you happier, less stressed, and more satisfied with life. It helps us find more positive ways of coping with the difficulties as they arise. Grateful people will have 10% fewer stress related illnesses, be more physically fit, and have blood pressure that is lower by 12%. And if that doesn't motivate you, happy people's income is roughly 7% higher! - Greater Good Science Center And so, this is what yoga teaches us. To be comfortable with discomfort. To find a place of peace and ease within the asana (posture) regardless of what we are thinking or feeling. If our thighs are shaking, or our feet are asleep. We connect to the breath, to the present moment, and we find peace. Even if you may not be as flexible as you think you should be, and you cannot touch your toes or balance on one foot… can you be thankful for your practice? For the time to practice. For a place to practice. For having a yoga teacher to guide you. Etcetera and so on. What’s not wrong with your practice? Can you be thankful for that. What amazing thing have you created? What blessing has come your way? What did you not have to go without today? Who lifted you up when you were down? How many good things happened yesterday? Today? It does not matter what you are grateful for. What matters is that you are training your brain to look for the positive. To view the world differently. So, take some time to sit. Contemplate. Reflect. Make a list of 3-5 things that you are grateful for today. Things that are not wrong in your life. Even if it is honoring your Self for just pushing through and hanging on! Now bring your attention to your heart center. Mentally say to your Self “Thank You” for your gratitude items. Say to your Self “Thank You. Today I am grateful for _____.” After you have given thanks, notice how you are feeling. Now pass it on. Gratitude has a ripple effect! Email your thanks to someone who helped you today, tell a friend thank you for something they did or said, tell a stranger thank you for holding the door for you. Be the cause for someone else’s happiness today. Then thank your Self for that. “I appreciate the abundance in my life and I allow myself to expand in gratitude, success, and joy every day.”

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