As I said in my previous blog focus can give us wildly varying impressions on how our lives are going. When we zoom in on a tree, we can become blind to the proverbial forest. We can miss greatness that is all around us while we fixate on one or a few not so great details.
For readers of this blog who are up for amplifying their sense of joy and happiness, richness and value, I recommend they compile a gratitude list.
By compile I mean write down, itemize. Keep going as long as you can, and you may add things to the list as you think of them. A big part of the value of this practice is that a physical compilation of positive things gets created then added to. It can be expanded both in the number of things listed as well as in fleshing out entries.
People embarking on such an exercise sometimes note themselves stalling after 10 or 15 lines, pen hovering over the scribbler, unable to pull up any other items. If they stopped at that point they might be left with the impression that there exists not a profusion of things for which to be thankful. I encourage such people to press on, dig deeper, to look at things they may be taking for granted. When they list a person’s name, I suggest that they start looking at the specific things in that person that seem worthy of thankfulness. If they say “my home”, I ask what about your home has you feel gratitude.
A next, deeper step can be to start listing people in your life, and one by one, go down the list and look at what makes them great, or lovable, or admirable. Really, the same can be done with any group you find yourself in. If you find yourself gazing at a person apparently devoid of notable redeeming qualities, consider that you may have an opinion or view of that person that is blocking your ability to see their goodness or greatness. The same can be said about your job, your town, your family, and on and on.
Be generous in your evaluations of people and things for your gratitude list. Push past where you might typically stop in your considerations. Do you see stinginess getting in your way?
To take this further, make a practice out of sitting and getting present to what there is to be thankful for at that moment, in that place. Add that to the list.
Refer to your list at least once a week, to review the entries, and to really soak up all that wonderfulness! And keep adding to the list.
What do you notice about yourself after this exercise? How do you feel making and adding to the list? Did this cause you to see the people and things listed any differently than before?
Here is a second part to the gratitude list. Watch this video, and apply it to your list. This ties in with acknowledgment, which I blogged about earlier.
For a bonus, pick 3 people on your list, and reach out in the way shown on the video. You might want to write down what you want to say and just read it, or speak off the cuff, that’s up to you.
Notice how you felt in those conversations. What was it like? What if you did this every day, or 2 or 3 times a week. What might open up for you?