WOW. Over a year has passed from when my 365 days of gratitude challenge began (officially on Feb. 7, 2014) and man am I grateful I embarked on this journey! I don’t think I wrote 365 ‘thank you cards’, however I most certainly wrote over 365 cards that included some version of gratitude in them. Writing a card a day proved to be almost impossible for me at this juncture in life… however I found a way to express gratitude daily. This little challenge taught me more than I even imagined. Here, in a list, is what I learned from 365 days of being grateful:
1. Gratitude is more than saying ‘Thank You’– Gratitude is saying “I love you”. Gratitude is saying “I’m sorry”. Gratitude is humbling yourself to another human being. Gratitude is finding divinity in everything- even if you are unsure of what divinity looks like.
2. The sphere of Gratitude is far reaching, but it consistently spirals back to a small few– I have written cards to family, friends, strangers and even companies I am grateful for… however I found that I wrote multiple thank you letters to many of the same people: my parents, my husband, my closest friends… I have a stack of cards I haven’t even sent because I think some of them may find it bizarre that I keep saying to them: Thank you, I love you! As if I were going to die soon or something. And while I don’t plan on that, this exercise has reminded me that we will all be gone one day… Some of us sooner than we would like. If we don’t say “I love you” and “thank you” now, when will we?
3. Gratitude teaches me that I am more than this body, and that we are all connected- Every time I write a gratitude note or express gratitude, I feel a deep sense of connection with that person. An out of body experience almost. As if I’ve said this before. As if they already know… I am more than this body, because on a cellular level I connect with others when I humble myself to them. There’s something so innate about saying “thank you” and “I’m grateful for ‘x'”. Gratitude is an expression of ‘namaste’.
4. I’ve got a big ego and I’m selfish… Humbling myself to others made me realize how cocky and selfish I can be. That’s ok, I’m learning … or rather re-learning… day by day to let go of some shit. Sometimes I didn’t want to say thank you to people because they had never said it to me. I felt like I was ‘owed’ something. I felt entitled to them humbling to me first… That’s not how this works :). It was a wonderful exercise in hearing some of my own demons that I need to work on. Every time I get pissed about someone in my life, or want to strangle the idiot in the car who just cut me off- I think about how I would feel if they were gone. I find gratitude for their existence. It helps take the edge off of my red headed rage and self-centeredness.
5. Gratitude opens our eyes to reality. Life is f*^&ing good. #whitepeopleproblems #firstworldproblems If you live in the United States, have food on your table every day, have shelter, have someone who loves you, have good or decent health- you are beyond #BLESSED. Complaining, bitching and moaning, being ungrateful- these are part of the human experience. However, gratitude reminds us that it could always be worse, and most likely you have it pretty damn good. The next time you become frustrated with your situation, have a bad day, get pissed at someone- CHOOSE GRATITUDE. It will pull you out of your a-hole…
A year ago, I didn’t have a yoga studio to teach at every day and LOVE what I do. A year ago I was not this strong mentally or physically. There were people I had yet to meet. There were places I had yet to see. A year ago, my husband was preparing to TRY to make it to the CrossFit Games (which he did, WOW). I had not seen all of Breaking Bad a year ago… A year ago, I had fewer memories, experiences, joyful experiences, sorrowful experiences, laughter and love than I do now.
There is so much to be grateful for, and while I probably won’t embark on writing a thank you note every day going forward- I will certainly count my blessings twice every day. Life is so good. Open your eyes to it!
Anyone in to trying the #365daysofgratitude challenge? All it takes is an open heart, a shit load of stamps and writers cramp :).
Oh and for everyone reading- THANK YOU!