Art in Action is a weekly post: a short, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.
What better time than Thanksgiving week to look at the interconnection of gratitude and grace? Here are 8 practices that will help you experience how gratitude leads to grace and grace to gratitude (the first is so powerful it comes in three delicious flavors!):
1. Gratitude Journals
Vanilla Gratitude Journal – Vanilla isn’t boring, it’s simple and rich. The practice of writing down three things you’re grateful for at the end of every day cannot help but change the way you see the world.
Chocolate Gratitude Journal – Every day write down one unique thing you are grateful for. No duplicates. Make it something you’ve never written in your journal before. You might find yourself alert to the world differently as you search for your one thing (some of my recent ones: the smell of cilantro, orange feet on a black bird, the kindness of the man at the doctor’s office).
Salted Caramel Gratitude Journal – Every day identify three gratitudes – one in each of these categories:
– Ordinary. One mundane, oft-overlooked thing (clean water, a breathing easily through your nose, food on the grocery shelves),
– You. One thing about you (extra bonus for naming four – one physical, one mental, one emotional, one spiritual),
– Ouch. one about something difficult, something you resisted, something that you didn’t want
2. Gratitude Meditation
Get quiet and meditate on gratitude. I’ve been using the Insight Timer Application on my phone and loving it. You can find lots of great guided meditations there including
– “Gratitude Meditation” by Sarah McLean
– “Meditation on Gratitude” by Adam Dacey
– “Cultivate Gratitude Mediation” by Mija Speakman
3. Bad Day Turn Around
Having a craptastic day? Things not how you want them to be? Pause and identify something you’re grateful for in this situation. Get down to the bones of things and see beyond the narrow circumstance. Stuck in traffic? You’ve got a car. Busy at work? You’ve got a job. Got a snarky teenager? You’ve got a teenager who is healthy enough to be snarky.
4. Thank you note
Write a thank you letter to someone in your life you haven’t properly thanked. If you can, read it to them. If not, read it out loud with the intention of them receiving your thanks. (BONUS TIP: Thanks to Mandy Blake for this idea from her Embody Gratitude program. Want to join me in this rich month of gratefulness? It’s free and awesome. Click here.)
5. Move as One Body
When feeling physically awkward, take a breath and move your body as a whole, as a system rather than a collection of parts. While it can be helpful to put your attention on how you’re holding your shoulders or positioning your feet, for grace, move as one body.
6. Social Grace
Add grace to an awkward social interaction by identifying something in the situation you are grateful for. Even if it’s as simple as, “I’m glad to see you” or “I’m glad you asked me that.”
7. Let Us Give Thanks
Say a simple grace of thanks before eating. (A family I know sits down together, holds hands, looks around the table and says, “YAYYYY!!!”)
Forgive someone. Forgive a debt. Forgive a hurt. Forgive a meanness. And if you’re not ready to forgive someone else, forgive yourself for that.
Merry Thanksgiving, every body! I’m grateful for you.