Maybe you’re thinking, “How can I choose gratitude?” Then again, how can you not? Gratitude, like many things, really is a choice. Some choices are challenging, while others come naturally – if you let them.
A yoga retreat puts everything in perspective, and allows you to choose gratitude. We finish every retreat with a gratitude meditation and a gratitude brunch. Discover your retreat here.
Benefits of Gratitude
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” Melody Beatty.
Gratitude improves physical and psychological health. Gratitude allows more restful sleep. Gratitude is good for self-esteem and improves relationship. Studies have shown that gratitude leads to happiness. Gratitude really is a game changer.
I’ve found that’s true in my life. When I’m grateful, I’m content with my life just the way it is, with the challenges and with the mundane. Gratitude allows me to live my life just as it is, without longing for something “better.”
Just as you choose what outfit to wear or what to eat for breakfast, gratitude can be a choice. If you are wearing the same outfit and eating the same breakfast every day, that’s a habit. Gratitude can also be a habit. A lifetime habit of gratitude begins when you choose to be grateful. And it will definitely transform your life.
Live with Gratitude
For me, gratitude begins the second I step out of bed, gratitude to be up and awake and alive and moving. Granted, I don’t bounce out of bed every day, doing a happy dance. But when I consider the alternative…Alive is a great way to start the day!
Say you get stuck in traffic. You can choose to curse at the crazy drivers and what were they thinking (or not thinking) to cause the major wreck. Or you can choose gratitude. Consider…you are in your car on your way to your job and to do something (hopefully) you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy your job, you may want to read about finding your bliss.
Say you’re taking your kids to school, and even though it’s still early; things have been spilled, there have been screams, little Johnny forgot his homework. And THEN, there’s the mom who tries to cut in front of the rest of the drop off line. It’s been a hell of a morning and it isn’t even 8 am! Choose gratitude. For your children, who really will grow up to be lovely human beings (now my three are my favorite people). For the school, the teachers AND for the battles as your children learn to be independent. For the rude mom, because she’s a reminder, no matter how bad things might seem, at least you haven’t resorted to that tactic.
And if both scenarios apply to you – congratulations – you’re still moving forward. And you DEFINITELY need a retreat!
I’m grateful for so many small things. You, too, may find it relatively easy to choose gratitude for the “good” things in your life. Take a moment to contemplate the people, places, things and conveniences that make up your daily life. Then reflect on choosing to be grateful for the same things you may take for granted.
I’ve found where it gets tricky, is finding gratitude for challenges. I’ve faced many trials in my life, even thinking at times I wouldn’t make it through. That’s the thing about those tough times, they pass. Think back to a time, when you struggled with a situation. First of all, you survived it. Where would you be if you didn’t have to endure the struggle? Choose gratitude for surviving challenges…and learning from them.
Next take a look at something currently challenging you. It can be as simple as your partner or children leaving dirty socks on the floor or as complicated as the loss of a job or the ending of a relationship. Can you see yourself in the future? Maybe still dealing with those dirty socks, but by choosing gratitude you’ll realize it’s more of an inconvenience and less of a challenge. Hopefully recovered from the loss of the job or relationship and with gratitude, you’ll discover more possibilities and opportunities.
If you want to discover more gratitude in your life, it’s as easy as making a list in your head – before bed or while driving. You can also use a gratitude journal to write down the things you are grateful for, that way you can go back and look and review and be reminded – “I really do have it good.” I do both. I love to write my gratitude list in my journal. I also like to remember the moments of the day that made me grateful – the smile of a stranger, the colors of the sunrise, hearing the laughter of one of my children, the smell of coffee.
Gratitude at the Retreat
I love our Sunday Gratitude Brunch. I am humbled by the tales of gratitude. Women who are originally from other countries (from the Ukraine to Mexico to India to Canada) share how grateful they are for the freedoms and opportunities afforded them by this great country. Something, honestly, I’ve taken for granted. Women who have recovered from serious health issues, who are now grateful for every day and every breath. Women who have suffered unimaginable loss, losing loved ones too soon, yet they find gratitude and joy in the memories and surrounding themselves with friends and family. Many of our guests are brought to tears by realizing the profound arc of gratitude in their lives.
And at the gratitude brunch, I share my gratitude for Kaycee (I really couldn’t do it without her) and her dad, Terry, who does all of our property upkeep, building and maintenance (he is amazing!). Learn more about our incredible staff. I share my gratitude for my guests, my children, my yoga practice. And I share my gratitude for my ex-husband, who though he made my life extremely difficult at times, he made Retreat in the Pines possible.
And for that, I choose gratitude.
Will you choose gratitude?