Gratitude seems to be something we need to practice. It often appears that it does not come naturally to us, at least not the expression of it. What happens when we actually engage in gratitude as a practice by writing and sharing with friends or saying out loud what we are grateful for? This is what has happened for me.

Fourteen months ago I was having a lovely dinner party at my home with three dear friends and my husband. The food was delicious. The laughter and love in the room, warming. The conversations were wide-ranging. Somehow the topic of gratitude came up. My friend, Riki, told us how she used to write down, every morning, three things she was grateful for and three requests. At some point she got out of the habit and was noticing how much she missed it in her life. I loved the idea as I had done that same exercise previously and had also gotten out of the habit. I suggested that we do it as a group, via e-mail, every morning. The Gratitudes and Requests e-mail began the very next morning. We have added some others to the group since then and not everyone writes everyday but I have not missed a morning even when on vacation. If I do not have access to a computer I make sure I write in my journal what I am grateful for and what my requests are.

In the fourteen months I have noticed that practicing Gratitude has Gratitude be present as I move through my day. I find myself working outside in the sunshine saying “I am so grateful for this sunshine.” I hear a voice inside acknowledging how grateful I am for the song of the birds, the beauty of the snow, my dishwasher, wash machine, daughter, husband, mother, father, sister…I am grateful for upsets, even, for they teach me so much about who I am and how I want to be in the world. The grateful voice is so much more pleasant to listen to than the critical editor.

I feel Gratitude in my heart assisting me in returning to balance when something knocks me off kilter.
Gratitude makes it so much easier to see the good in all things.
Gratitude has me be a calmer, kinder person.
With Gratitude in my heart, in all of my cells, the joy and optimism that I bring in to this world is very present, very easily shared.
Gratitude makes me smile.
The practice of writing and sharing gratitudes and requests has deepened my connection to the women with whom I share the practice. It is the way I start the day…a hot cup of tea and writing gratitudes. Beautiful.
And the requests part? Well, I get to make requests, send them out to my friends and the universe, be in action around them and watch what manifests. It is remarkable how making requests, coming from a place of gratitude and action, makes things happen even though what shows up may not look exactly like my original picture.

You could experiment with it…write down at least three things you are grateful for every single day. Write down at least three requests. Maybe some of your friends would do it with you either via e-mail or a phone call. Pay attention to the changes you experience in how you go through your days.

Another fun gratitude practice is to take a lined piece of paper, write down each letter of the alphabet on a line. Next to the letter write down one thing you are grateful for that starts with that letter. Do it on regular basis. It is fun and it can be challenging. What are you grateful for that starts with the letter X or Y or Z or for that matter, Q?

Today I am grateful for this life I have. Grateful for the sunshine. Grateful for the breaths I take that restore me to calm and balance. Grateful for words and sharing and this computer. Today I am grateful.