I was driving on the freeway one day during the height of a stressful period at work when I suddenly felt very dizzy. I quickly pulled the car over and sat on the side of the road. As I listened to the traffic buzzing by me, I felt completely empty and lost. I knew I wanted to leave my job, this was the direction I wanted to go, but a new life meant I would be making one tenth of my previous salary and had none of the perks that come with a powerful job. I had spent most of my life working and going from one vacation to the next, always looking for the next big thing to occupy my thoughts. Wanting was my typical state of mind, but I finally realized that what I wanted was to no longer want.
We hear more and more about people letting go of stressful jobs, relationships, or other interests in order to seek a meaningful life through spiritual practices such as Yoga. It’s a big transition, and often people are not prepared for the realities of losing the identity they had previously known and walking away from titles, status and salaries. It can seem overwhelming and make you doubt your choice – some say they felt more lost and unsure transitioning then they did in the original gloom that initiated the desire for change. Beginning a daily practice of gratitude can help to relax and sooth you through the life-changer, moving you from a state of lack to one that is grounded in the understanding that the universe will provide exactly what you need to thrive in each moment.
Reflecting on what you have and what you enjoy about life (for example, good health, good friends, a place to live, a fulfilling spiritual practice) helps to shift focus towards what you have instead of what you want, opening up life and making it more smooth. When you resist what is in front of you and live in an ideal future or past, you are working against the flow where it is harder to manifest what you need. This resistance can look like frustration, anxiety or impatience
Simple practices of gratitude
Gratitude changes everything. It can move you from a state of lack to one in which you understand that you have everything you need to thrive in this moment. It helps you see that the experience of life is a gift, one you can cherish each day.
How often do you appreciate what you have? We recommend doing it at least daily, but the more you express thanks for what you have been given, the more you will find to be thankful for. Here are three of our favorite practices:
- Begin and end your day with a statement of gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal near your bed that you add to each day. During those times when you need a reminder of what you have in life, take a look through the pages.
- Be grateful for your meals. Gratitude is good for digestion. Before each meal, spend a moment honoring all who brought you that food. The farmers, the cooks and mother nature have all done a lot to bring you this nourishment.
- Count out the simple things you have. A bed to sleep on, a meal, a friend to talk to — you’ll be surprised to see how much is available to you. When you express appreciation for the small things, you welcome greater abundance in your life.
Practice gratitude during the difficult times, as well as when life flows with ease. Being grateful doesn’t mean challenges go away, but having this perspective allows you to climb to a higher place and get a better view of what you’re going through. After all, challenges are gifts that help you let go of your lower ego and connect with your higher self.
Remember this: The universe never stops providing what you need to grow as spirit. Find appreciation for that alone and you’ll never run out of things to be thankful for.