Tag Archive | Gratitude

Gratitude Practice

Everything in our lives comes from others. (John Cremer)

Are you sitting right now as you read? If so, then a chair, sofa, or bed is supporting you. You probably have not paid much attention to this fact until I mentioned it. Nor have you been thinking that someone designed the chair (sofa, bed, etc.); someone manufactured it; someone brought it to where you are sitting; someone paid for it – perhaps it was you. It is likely that many people (mostly unknown to you) had a hand in the chair’s creation and journey to where it is now. It is fair to say that you are receiving a service from the chair and from all of those people whose efforts were part of the story. Whether you notice it or not, whether you thank it or not, the chair offers you support, comfort. The chair is a silent gift. (Patricia Madson, Improv Wisdom)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If you were to choose ONE directive as the Focus of your life, what would it be?”

Take NOTHING for granted.

“What would it look like expressed as a moment-to-moment Practice?”

Slow down.

Ask yourself: What am I taking for granted?

Notice all Silent Gifts around you.

Feel the Gratitude flooding your Heart.

On Celebration and Beauty

Fragment from an older imaginary dialogue

“How did you celebrate new year’s?”

“I didn’t. I no longer celebrate the year. I celebrate the day every day.”


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Celebration is commonly seen as something done on certain occasions, with a certain frequency.

What does celebration mean for you?”

“As you know, Beauty is one of my central values. It’s a profound filter through which I look at life – a ‘reality-filter‘.

I view celebration through the filter of Beauty.

I view celebration as Beautiful.

I view the act of celebration as Beautifying.

Moment to moment to moment I celebrate Beauty.

The Beauty of Life, 
the Beauty of my many Gifts, 
the Beauty of my BodyMind, 
the Beauty of Moving,
the Beauty of Growing,
the Beauty of Obstacles,
the Beauty of Playing,
the Beauty of Creating,
and, many many more.

And, above all, 
the Beauty of Awareness.”

Applied Positivity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I wish she stopped sending me all these pictures and videos.”

“Always look on the bright side of things.

She thought of you, and wanted to share them with you.

Appreciate it, and send love back, even if only in your mind.

Gratitude Flooding 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I want to own as little as possible. So a while ago I did an inventory of all my possessions, 80/20 style.”

“Have you thought of making that information usable?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“You can use it in your Gratitude practice.

You can turn it into a Gratitude List.

“I’m thinking Gratitude Flooding [<link; short read].”

“I’m thinking that’s a great idea.”

Beautiful Habits: Appreciating Ideas 2

If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants. (Isaac Newton)

A cugeta inseamna a cugeta MAI DEPARTE. (Nicolae Iorga)
Translation: To think means to think FARTHER.


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“The structure of the titles of some of your posts – ‘On [topic]‘ – reminds me of Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic [<link].”

“That’s because they are inspired by Seneca.

The name of the blog is inspired by Marcus Aurelius.
The dialogue format is inspired by Plato.

In part, it’s a little playful reminder to express gratitude to all the people whose lives have touched mine through their ideas.”

“Is this practice different from the one we’ve talked about before [<link; medium length]?”

“Yes.

That one is focused on ideas, so contextual. Whenever I encounter an idea, I express gratitude for the idea, and to the author.

This one is focused on people, and macro-focused, so an instance of Big-Thinking [<link; medium]. I express gratitude to all people who have influenced me with their ideas.

I acknowledge and honor being part of a collective process [<link; short] that is much bigger than I am.

I acknowledge and honor standing on the shoulders of Giants.

With a grateful heart, I’m drinking from and building on the Collective Wisdom of Humanity, and dedicate my life to bringing my own little contribution.

On changing State

The Triad of Human Emotions

#1: Physiology

Emotion is created by motion. Whatever you’re feeling right now is directly related to how you’re using your body. If you slump your shoulders and lean your head forward, you’ll move toward a state of depression. However, the next time you find yourself in a negative state, stand up, throw your shoulders back and take a few deep breaths. You’ll find that you’re able to put yourself in a resourceful state. From this state, you can make stronger decisions and enjoy a sense of certainty that will keep you calm in the face of uncertainty.

#2: Language

Language comes in many forms, one of which includes the questions you ask yourself, either aloud or inside your head. If you ask, “Why does this always have to happen to me?” you’ll create a much different set of emotions than if you asked, “How can I benefit from this?” or “Where’s the gift in this?” or “What’s humorous about this?” The language patterns you run play a significant role in the meaning you give a situation – and the emotion that situation creates in you. When you feel negative emotions taking over, look at the language surrounding your situation. How can you shift it to create a more empowering state?

#3: Focus

Where focus goes, energy flows. And where energy flows, whatever you’re focusing on grows. In other words, your life is controlled by what you focus on. That’s why you need to focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear. When you next find yourself in a state of uncertainty, resist your fear. Shift your focus toward where you want to go and your actions will take you in that direction.

(Tony Robbins)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I implement this wisdom?”

Turn it into a mental checklist.

Whenever you find yourself in an unresourceful state, bring the checklist to mind:

Physiology
Language / Meaning
Focus

We can think of this as the macro-checklist.

Every item of the macro-checklist is itself a checklist.”

Micro-checklists?”

“Yes. Here’s what it might look like.

As concerns the first:

Physiology
Breathe
Expand
Move

“Could you expand upon the last two? (Pun intended)”

Expand refers to two things: Posture – extending your spine, standing tall –, and Power Pose – taking up more space.

Move refers to a short burst of intense movement, so movement that accelerates your heart rate. Like Burpees, Jumping Squats, Sprinting… or climbing a tree.

As concerns the second:

Language / Meaning
Say a Centering Mantra
Ask an Empowering Question

This is something you have to experiment with for yourself.

It could be bringing to mind the anchor of your Macro-Meditation [<link; short length]. 
It could be saying ‘Thank you‘, and thinking ‘Beautiful Opportunity‘, and ‘Find the Gift [<link; short].’

Whatever works for you.”

“Is there a difference between expressing it as a directive or as a question?

Find the Gift.
Where’s the Gift in this?”

“Both work. The advantage of questioning, from what I noticed, is that it better activates the problem-solving mode.

As concerns the third:

Focus
Focus
– on what you can control.
– on the positives (not the negatives).
– on the solution (not the problem).

– on the Big-picture.
– on Possibility.”

“The last two have to do with Meaning.”

“Yes, there’s some overlap between them.

For instance Expand can also be used metaphorically:

Transcend your small self and its lilliputan problems and Expand into your Big / Heroic Self.

The tendency when you’re in an unresourceful state is to contract, both physically and mentally. Expand is meant to counter that. You could think of it as a Mantra-Word. And you can amplify the effect by combining it with Big Thinking [<link; medium].

On top of all this, there’s a meta-cognitive practice: Introspection.

Notice your thoughts and feelings, and the language you’re using, and identify dysfunctional patterns.

Contextual Gratitude

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’m constantly looking for ways to perfect my practices. I approach Self-Actualization from the perspective of Creator, Designer and Innovator.”

“You’re expressing yourself through your work.”

“I guess I am.

Take gratitude for instance, which I consider a vital life-tool and an essential pillar of Artful Living.

There’s a quote I love, from a great game designer:

Restrictions breed creativity. (Mark Rosewater)

This touches upon an extraordinarily powerful concept / model: creative limitations.

The brain is not good at making open-ended choices. When tasked to do so, it tends to retreat to the realm of the familiar. Limitations are a powerful way of lighting the fire of the creative process, of generating (and narrowing down) possibilities. 

This is an art in itself. 

Language can be used as a tool to that end. I call these linguistic-filters.

In the context of gratitude, one such filter I created for myself is what I called contextual gratitude.”

“You mean like being grateful for the things around you and such?”

“Precisely. But that’s just one type of context.

You can play with contexts.

You can think of
spatial contexts (eg the room I’m in, or the city), or
temporal contexts (eg the day, the month, the year), or
thematic contexts (eg people, movement, nature), or
metaphoric contexts (eg big-picture or small-picture perspectives).

You can also combine filters. Take for instance the linguistic-filters:

Appreciate how far you’ve come.
+
Appreciate the things you take for granted.

You can express Gratitude at a general level, by evoking how much you’ve evolved in (and as) the Process. But I find it useful to also express Gratitude for specific instances of it, that you usually take for granted.”

“Can you give an example.”

“Let’s say you’re at the store and you feel a strong impulse to buy something. You exercise your Willpower, discipline yourself, and wisely decide not to give in to the impulse. This is a beautiful opportunity to practice Gratitude for how much you’ve developed Self-Control.”

Antifragility

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How are you dealing with this cold?”

I thank it for strengthening me.

Weird rituals

Be your unapologetically weird self. (Chris Sacca)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Do you have any weird rituals?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Tell me one.”

“I have a ritual of kissing my tattoos.

(The Obstacle is the Way [<link; short length] on my left forearm, and Connections on the right forearm)

It’s a symbolic act.

I’m kissing my beautiful BodyMind, which I’m deeply grateful for, and consider sacred.

And I’m kissing the ideas the tattoos express. Those are deep ideas which encode my entire life philosophy and system of thought.”

On Gratitude and Implementation

Are you sitting right now as you read? If so, then a chair, sofa, or bed is supporting you. You probably have not paid much attention to this fact until I mentioned it. Nor have you been thinking that someone designed the chair (sofa, bed, etc.); someone manufactured it; someone brought it to where you are sitting; someone paid for it – perhaps it was you. It is likely that many people (mostly unknown to you) had a hand in the chair’s creation and journey to where it is now. It is fair to say that you are receiving a service from the chair and from all of those people whose efforts were part of the story. Whether you notice it or not, whether you thank it or not, the chair offers you support, comfort. The chair is a silent gift. (Patricia Madson, Improv Wisdom)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“You can practice Gratitude in many ways.”

Do you practice Gratitude in all those ways?”

“When I remember it.”

“So quite infrequently?”

“Frankly, yes.

How can I stop forgetting?”

“There’s two aspects to it:
– remembering to practice
– remembering what to practice

Each requires different strategies.

An important thing to remember, on a meta / higher-order level, is this:

Always SIMPLIFY.

Have a default practice, ONE focus you keep coming back to, the most powerful practice you know.

What might that be? Express it as a directive.”

“Take NOTHING for granted.”

The directive you chose, while good as a reminder, is non-specific, it has no built-in actionable components.

To enrich it, connect it with ONE actionable question and ONE actionable model.

“Question: What am I taking for granted?

Model: Silent Gifts”

“Beautiful.

You’ve thus created a little network. The directive will serve as the access-point.

As concerns the rest of the practices, you can use randomness as a tool [<link; medium read].

Make a selection of the practices, 80/20 style, either on paper or digitally. Whenever you want to practice, extract one at random. That will be the theme of the session.

I call this random thematic practice.”