The Grassroots Way to Practice Gratitude.

Stream Streamuhs, (who got the keys to your gratitude?)

Words are powerful.

Their way of tickling our tongue and escaping through our breath into the world reveals more than the rational mind can comprehend. Gratitude is one of those words that’s recently gained a whole new dimension for many. A word typically associated with a vague sense of“thanks” has managed to give our aching minds a much-needed pause. Whether before bedtime or during rush-hour traffic, the act of silently focusing on something that has had a saving effect on our well-being, instantly unleashes psychological and biological wonders. Whether it’s the way your pet loses it when you walk into the door, your child’s innocent glance, the glory of the moon, or a friend’s selfless support, there is always something to give credit to for making our world a little more worthwhile. 

While making actual and mental lists is great way to recapture the things that add light years to our reservoir of resilience, there might be a more organic way to tap into that feeling of humility and inner wow.  A practice requiring no writing utensils or the creation of “extra time”, but solely a pinch of awareness and a willingness to “anchor down” the present moment, as it unfolds.  Anchoring: A reverse live-stream of appreciation; taking external stimulus and alchemizing it into internal fuel.

How many times during the day do we pause to truly admire or appreciate something? A cool breeze, gracious smile or an easily found parking spot --- Why wait for the day to end to catalog the moments that went by when we can fully acknowledge them“in the making”, by pausing and anchoring down the ease they bestowed upon us? 

Coaching highly productive and ambitious women, I find that many times we race through our day not really acknowledging the traces of miracles that are sprinkled along our path. Always focusing on the "next thing" to be done leaves little room for appreciation. Gratitude need not only be an exercise in doing when it can become our state of being.

I waitress part -time. For anyone who’s ever found themselves at the mercy of kitchen, customer, coworker and hot plates, you know it’s not a job for the faint of heart (or feet). Things can go from smooth sailing to shit just got real in nanoseconds, leaving one in a buzz of fury or panic. You get used to people screwing up, complaining, swearing to leave and never come back. I had been on guard for my epic mess up from day one.  Sure enough, it was on one of those first nights where I accomplished just that. My mind went blank, hands got clammy, and the present moment weighed heavily on my inability to act.  When a deep inhale flung me outside the situation and into a state of observation, I knew something had shifted. It sounds weird, but I looked around at everyone; ladling soup, cracking jokes and longing for something more and something about it all made me feel safe.  It was like a surreal sense of “okayness”.  Through anchoring that moment of “things are going to be okay”, I got through the dread or “what’s next?” Practicing this type “anchoring” for my coworkers quirks, and life’s ingenious twist and turns has transformed a rather tedious preoccupation into a most entertaining experiment of appreciation hunting.

Try it out.  See, hear, feel or taste something worthwhile? Recognize it as it's actually happening and drop it down into your heart. Drag it in, like you would a document into the recycling bin of your computer screen. That feeling of "omg, I am having a an extraordinary moment right now" is a gift, and by throwing an anchor onto it, we allow it’s life force to settle inside of us.

If, Mahatma Gandhi was right and “there is more to life than simply increasing it’s speed” I’d dare posture its living it to it’s depth.

*Keep streaming*