I had always been committed to leaning in and living from a place of gratitude. However, this felt quite difficult to achieve. No matter how much I tried, creating this change in perspective never seemed meaningful and I felt like I was consistently fighting my own ego or inner mean girl to find this place of goodness within, to frame my life experience. It is only in the last 6 months, when our world changed overnight that my hand was forced, and I was left with the choice of making the next little bit of time as miserable as possible or becoming my own best friend. That required radical commitment to loving myself and finding joy in the small stuff to discover meaning, and value in my days.
Embedding gratitude into my inner landscape has been a large component of my devotional practice over the past 5 years. No matter how much I tried, I still found myself in the world of comparison, hiding away my true self from the world, placing blame on something external or on others as the reason something wasn’t happening in my life and purely believing I was not worthy for something good to happen in my life. Earlier this year, Jay Shetty ran a small course on how the 3 Cs (complaining, comparing and criticising) shrinks your brain and impairs your ability to be in a place of gratitude This was quite mind blowing for me to learn. This was the exact behaviour I had been perpetuating and consequently not taking full responsibility for my own wellbeing, despite my perceived commitment to doing so.
How did I get there, you may ask? In a time when there was not a lot to do, I started small, and over time my gratitude meter has dialled up and my life experience has become more radiant than ever before. Taking the world away, finding a meaningful connection to myself and new found self love and the lens I experience the world has become much more enriching. These top 5 factors I explore in this blog, have pivoted my world towards gratitude and this has meant that I have been able to seek pleasure and joy in the opportunities.
1. Connect with your locus of control
In a time when our freedoms were taken away, I started to focus on the things that I valued in my life and what I can have agency over. I could still meditate, go for a run, eat healthy, observe the beauty in nature and the seasons changing, connect with others online and form new networks, use my job for service and good in the university community, have virtual present time with my family and friends, and focus on forging a beautiful relationship with myself for the first time.
I realised through this process that I was still able to do many of the things that I loved. Maybe not in the same way, but differently and as they were important to me, I made them happen.
I really focused on this question to kick start this focus ~ What are the values that are at the core of who I am, and how do I make them a priority in my life?
2. Find the little things that bring you joy and pleasure
It is your birth right to feel pleasure and joy in your life. Taking away all the static, I was able to hone in my happy meter and demand more of this in my life. No longer was I comparing myself to others on a weekend, and instead really embodying what activities, rituals, movement and creative pursuits that made me feel alive. There was also no place for accepting things that are not in service to my wellbeing. This included taking a stance on my boundaries and how I was to be treated by others. My expectations do matter and are the priority.
3. Focus on the things you are thankful for
In a pandemic, my awareness of my health and wellbeing was heightened. I was thankful my family were safe, we all had our health, that I was able to continue my work and be of service to others in that community. It was time to slow down and recover. I could use this time to focus on those goals that were always on the backburner due to the business of life.
I found an amazing anchor in the Beautiful You Life Coaching course, where I was able to get into positive action towards my own personal growth, learning about life coaching and how I can service others and building a heart centered business in the world.
4. Dare to Dream
I dared to dream of what my life can be like. From this place of gratitude, these dreams come from a strong and healthy foundation of already enjoying my life for what it is at that moment and was not filling a deep hole or void within. These dreams create magical possibilities that complement your truth and the direction of your personal alignment.
5. Embrace the opportunities when they light you up
Historically I would resist opportunities. I would often use money and time as a barrier to doing things for fun or embracing it in the full. I wasn’t living in abundance. I was living with limitation at the full front of my mind, and therefore had a level of hesitation or resistance to do the things that I would enjoy, just because no particular reason then fears. With this type of mindset, you start to find reasons why not to do something and this is no way to live. As we have experienced this year, our worlds can change overnight, and opportunities are rare and a gateway to freedoms we never knew was possible.
Since being at my hometown I have relished in present time with my family, adventures in the places that make me so happy to visit, enjoying the company of special people in my life, enjoying activities that are challenging, fun and make me feel free in who I am. I don’t hold back. There are internal battles (especially when it comes to money), however I consciously go through a process of diffusing the tension created by living in the resistance, by reflecting on all the good that has come out of the situation until I am feeling the internal distance from the tension and being back in a place of gratitude. Embodying this place brings exciting adventure and a new level of freedom, I had lost since travelling the world.
I do hope to continue this perspective into the future. Right now, I am comfortable at my hometown, and I will be challenged to continue this once I return to Melbourne. However, I do believe we can’t unlearn these important lessons that we learn in life.
It is a personal commitment to embed these elements in my life and come from a place of gratitude. Saying something may no longer be of service for you anymore is as much in your strength as looking for the good in your world. That autonomy enables you to go wherever your bliss leads.