Your Soul Cafe: Conversations that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
"Thanksgiving, to be truly Thanksgiving is first thanks, then giving." ~Unknown
There are many reasons to be grateful all year long, and especially in November, the official month of gratitude. Consider making the practice of gratitude not only doing--writing lists, practicing rituals, creating gratitude projects—but an ongoing, everyday practice of being.
Adopting gratitude rituals for yourself and/or family supports the intention of being more grateful by their very nature.
Rituals can transform you and yours as they:
- Change any ordinary task to an extraordinary event by focusing on the sacredness and specialness of the activity.
- Color, by pausing, your life with expanded peace, power, and joyance.
- Increase awareness by focusing on all that’s good to expand opportunities for more good to enter your “inner” and outer doors.
- Offer a moment of illusion or reassurance that there’s order in a chaotic day, week, or world.
- Create a casual impact on your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Here are five of my favorite gratitude rituals:
#1 Write or say your G-List--Gratitude List. Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance--my favorite book--introduced this then-novel idea on the Oprah show in the early 80s. Oprah enthusiastically appreciated the approach and started her own gratitude journal; later she shared the practice many times with her global audience. Now, writing a gratitude list is perhaps not so novel.
To shift the experience of only writing a list, set the stage by lighting a white, soy candle and perhaps some quality incense to lift your prayers up literally and symbolically. Play music that soothes and energizes. Start with an opening prayer.
#2 Write or say your AAA List--Always Advance Appreciation. You might be a member of AAA, the American Automobile Association. As part of their services, they offer to create a "TripTik"--a map detailing the directions to your final destination.
Likewise, your AAA List maps out a dynamic day for you to follow in advance. Source gets your spiritual orders and is happy to deliver.
Visualize the day ahead and mentally walk through it.
Visualize the day ahead and mentally walk through it.
“Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." -Matthew 7: 7-8
If there’s no time to write, then say your list out loud while getting ready for the day, with your family while cooking breakfast, driving to school or work--or maybe waiting in line or for an appointment.
These two gratitude lists are the bookend activities to the Divine Dialogue Writing System; the idea and metaphor of the "AAA List" came during one of my daily writing sessions.
#3 Gather in a Gratitude Circle. While seated around the Thanksgiving table, many families will invite each person to share what they’re grateful for. To make this a family ritual, consider repeating the experience at a daily meal or once a week.
The family leader (or any member) might suggest a gratitude topic each time to keep the “circle” fun, exciting, and meaningful. Examples might include giving thanks for a specific person in the circle, teachers, helpful professions, books, stories, animals, memories, movies, messages, relatives, ancestors, appliances, trees, bugs, and the topics go on forever…
#4 Create a Gratitude “Door." It’s said that gratitude opens the doors to more of what you give thanks for—it’s expansive energy attracts positivity. This is an ongoing ritual that you can set a sacred appointment to keep at the end of the day or once a week. This "door" moves your gratitude to larger, visual expression.
Use a door, wall, window, upper cabinet, refrigerator, or any flat surface on which to place post-it notes—written thank you's for who or what you’re grateful for. You can clear the post-it notes whenever your “gratitude door” is full and you’re ready to start again!
#5 Craft a Gratitude Mandala. This gratitude ritual engages the head, heart, and hands. Consider creating one alone and/or as a family project. Again, set sacred space with a candle, incense, and music before starting the project.
This is an easy and excellent follow-up to your Thanksgiving meal or to any gratitude circle.
Follow these six simple steps:
1) Draw a circle using a plate on construction paper
2) In the center write the words, “I AM Grateful for...”
3) Write your replies in lines like rays of sunshine! Enhance by using glitter or metallic pens to express the riches of body, mind, and spirit.
4) Create in silence.
5) When complete, share the gratitude mandala by speaking the “I AM Grateful For” statements out loud.
6) Display where you and everyone can see and appreciate the positive energies radiating outward to bless your home space and life!
Gratitude rituals are a simple, sure-fire way to access the powerful energy of appreciation in your life. Expect to see the results throughout your day and weeks. Be sure to add your blessings to your G-List and/or include in your other gratitude rituals. Your blessings will just keep growing and flowing…
From the blog, what gratitude rituals might you try and why? What do you already use to access your appreciation? Please share below.
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