Tag Archive | Gratitude

Games of Gratitude: Gratitude Flooding 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“We’ve talked a while back about the Gratitude Flooding [<link; short length] Game.”

“The one that involves expressing Gratitude for every item in your possession?”

“Yes. That’s one way to go about it. I call it going wide

Another way to go about it is going deep. Taking one thing and branching off from it.

Take a song for instance. You might go something like:

Express Gratitude for the song.
Express Gratitude to the Artist for the song.
Express Gratitude to all the people involved in producing the song.
Express Gratitude for the technology that allows you to listen to the song. (mp3 player, computer, head-phones, speakers, etc.)
Express Gratitude to all the people involved in producing the technology.

Go slowly, and FEEL the Gratitude flooding your heart at every step.

For songs that are particularly meaningful to me, I also evoke in my mind the past instance of me who first listened to the song and say:

I love you Dani-who-I-was. [<link; medium]

Then I evoke in my mind the context of when I first listened to the song, and send Love in the present to all the people involved in that context, even if I can’t remember all the details.”

“Why did you label this one under Design?”

“This is an instance of Experience Design.”

Gratitude Optimization

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize my Gratitude practice?”

Through Contrasting you can amplify its effect.

Whenever you express gratitude for something, you can bring to mind its opposite. For instance, whenever you express gratitude for life, you can bring to mind death. Memento mori.

Another thing you can do is place every object of Gratitude in your life in relation to three fundamental categories:

Be / Be not
Can / Can not
Have / Have not

You can make a list of them. Something like:

– Life
– BodyMind
– Health

– Breathe
– Think
– Feel
– See
– Hear
– Smell
– Taste
– Move
– Create
– Learn
– Appreciate Beauty

– Experiences
– Relationships
– Resources

– Ideas
– Tools
– Teachers

Reading the list can have a powerful effect because it shows an overview of everything you can be grateful for in your life.”

“You placed your BodyMind in the Being not the Having category.”

“It’s one of my axioms of being [<link; medium length]. As I see it, I don’t have a BodyMind; I AM a BodyMind.

The things in the Being category are the most powerful because they enable everything else.

The things in the Being Able To category come second because they enable everything in the third category.

Which is not to say that items in the third category are not important. All of them are.

It’s just a reminder that, whenever you express Gratitude for having something, to also express Gratitude for the things that make you able to enjoy them. To always have in view how they integrate in the Whole.

And, last but not least, you can conceptually connect Gratitude with Love, you can merge the two systems of meaning. You can see expressing Gratitude as an expression of Love.

On Gratitude and Templating

The soul becomes dyed with the color of your thoughts. (Marcus Aurelius)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If you were to choose only one thing to be grateful for, what would it be?”

My beautiful BodyMind.

This immensely intricate system of systems is the one that most influences the quality of our life. 

I think a deep appreciation and concern for our BodyMind is the highest expression of Self-Love, which has three components:

– Self-Awareness
– Self-Care
– Self-Mastery

“Then start every Gratitude practice by expressing Gratitude for your beautiful BodyMind.

You’re familiar with the idea of expressing Gratitude for three things. Turn it into a template [<link; medium read].

Fixed part: (Monad, One Thing)
Thank you for my beautiful BodyMind.

Variable part: (Triad)
Thank you for being Alive. [
Memento mori; Contrasting]
Thank you for my computer.
Thank you for the food.

The fixed part of the template you’ll be accessing most frequently, thus making it most present in your mind.
The variable part, less frequently.

And you can use the template with other things as well.”

On Balance

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I seek Balance.”

“How’s it going?”

“It goes beautifully for a while, and then I lose it. Over, and over, and over, and over again.

Is it possible not to lose Balance?”

“Balance is not a static but a dynamic process. You can metaphorically think of it as Balancing. It takes constant readjustment.

Losing balance is inevitable. 

That’s something outside your control.

What’s in your control is how you respond to it.

“Any tips on how to get better at it?”

Expect losing balance. (Value: Preparedness)

This way, it won’t take you by surprise.

Savor losing balance. (Value: Beauty, Play, Learning)

Find the Gift [<link; short read] hidden within. There’s always a hidden Gift.

Every imbalance is a beautiful opportunity to practice Balancing.

Every imbalance is a beautiful learning opportunity, a delightful puzzle to solve.

Have fun with it.

Appreciate losing balance. (Value: Gratitude)

Say a heartfelt ‘Thank you‘ for every Gift in your life.”

“There’s too many of them.”

“That’s a nice problem to have.”

On Love and Gratitude: Stacking

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s your most powerful practice?”

Loving Gratitude [<link; short length], or Grateful Love.

“Is this an instance of practice-stacking, so that whenever you practice one you also practice the other?”

“It is that, and more. It’s an instance of concept-stacking [<link; short]. I’ve fused the two concepts together, so that whenever I think of one I also think of the other.”

“Can you give a practical example?”

“Each practice has an associated mantra. 

For Love it’s ‘I love …‘ 


I love x. (Template [<link; medium])

I love climbing.
I love learning.

I love you x.

I love you Dani.
I love you Dani-who-I-was. 
I love you Dani-who-I-will-be.

I love you my dear Body.

I love you Life.
I love you Day.
I love you Moment.

I love you x for y.

For Gratitude it’s ‘Thank you …


Thank you.

Thank you for y.

Thank you x.

Thank you x for y.

Whenever I express Gratitude by saying ‘Thank you …‘, I also express Love for something related to it by saying ‘I love …

Whenever I express Love by saying ‘I love …‘, I also express Gratitude for something related to it by saying ‘Thank you …‘”

The Past as Resource

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

The past is a beautiful opportunity to practice Love and Gratitude.

“What’s your practice?”

“For me, thinking of the past is like a ritual.

Whenever I think of a past experience, positive or negative, I connect with and express Love for the instance of myself at that particular moment in time (Self-Love). I actually say to myself, with Kindness and Compassion:

I love you Dani-who-I-was.

Then I bring to mind all the people involved in the experience, and send them love in the present. (Active-Love)

I end the ritual with a heartfelt ‘Thank you‘.

One thing to note is that it doesn’t need to be just the distant past. It can be something from yesterday, or even a few hours ago.”

Beautiful Habits: Appreciating Humor

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“That was funny.”

“That’s yet another beautiful opportunity to practice Gratitude. 

Open your Heart in Gratitude every time someone makes you laugh or smile. Say a heartfelt ‘Thank you‘, and smile.

Gratitude Practice 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Thank you.”

“Do you like it?”

“No. But I treasure the intention.”

Values as Practice

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

Values are a practice.

“I’d add one important detail:

Values are a mindful practice – which is to say, a deliberate practice.

One aspect of it is recognizing (and celebrating) opportunities to practice. Whenever you have the opportunity to embody a value, say, Humility, you can actually say to yourself ‘I’m practicing Humility‘, or simply ‘Humility‘. You’re thus actively using your values as guides.

Another aspect of it is creating opportunities to practice. This means asking yourself:

What’s the practice?
What specific things can you do to practice value x?

Let’s take Gratitude for instance. The practice might be saying to yourself ‘Take NOTHING for granted‘, saying ‘Thank you‘, and thinking of something or finding something around you that you’re grateful for. Or picking anything around you and finding something about it that you’re grateful for.

Or let’s take Love. The practice might be saying to yourself ‘I am Love‘, expressing love to the present, past and future versions of yourself [<link; medium length], and then sending love to the people you care for most. You might then even use Big Thinking [link; medium] to send love to all humanity.”

Celebration Optimization

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“BJ Fogg’s book Tiny Habits is excellent.”

“Is it better than James Clear’s Atomic Habits?”

“It complements it beautifully. Tiny Habits approaches habit creation from the perspective of behavior-design. I hadn’t heard of behavior-design before. Now it’s something I want to master.

Let’s go back to James Clear’s four rules of habit-making:

Make it obvious. (Cue)
Make it attractive. (Craving)
Make it easy. (Response)
Make it satisfying. (Reward)

From Atomic Habits, I’d understood how important rewards are for habit creation. From Tiny Habits I got another piece of the puzzle:

When it comes to rewards, timing matters. 

In behavior-science, reward has a very specific meaning. Something counts as a reward only if it affects behavior, and it affects behavior only if it occurs either during the activity, or immediately after. That’s when dopamine is released and associated with the behavior. If the reward occurs outside this time-frame, it does not affect behavior, because the association with the behavior is lost.

One of the most powerful rewards is celebration. These ‘micro-moments of positivity’ – beautiful concept which I know from Brian Johnson – are essential for habit creation. In the words of BJ Fogg:

Emotions create habits.

“How can I optimize celebration?”

“What’s the main obstacle?”

“Remembering to celebrate.”

Celebrate remembering to celebrate.

Also, you can stack it with your Gratitude practice. I call this practice-stacking.

Every time you celebrate, say ‘Thank you‘ and, in the moment, improv-style, find one thing around you that you’re grateful for.