Developing the Art of Appreciation

With swirling uncertainty surrounding us these days, I am thankful for an understanding of the need to develop appreciation. We know that gratitude, the ability to appreciate, is fundamental to any spiritual journey and a foundation of becoming a member of the conscious community. People who consistently practice gratitude have more positive emotions, feel more connected to others, sleep better, have the ability to better express compassion and kindness, and according to studies have stronger immune systems.


How does one develop his or her skill of appreciation? It can seem hard, however, at its core, it is simple: by taking the time to notice and reflect upon the things we are thankful for in our daily experience. Appreciation for the abundance of tiny miracles that surround us each day, such as the sunrise or the sunset. A good meal. A smile from a stranger. Appreciation for the simple things that make life, like the purr of a pet cat or a walk with the dog, worth living.


In the long winding road of life, one thing I have come to realize is the difference gratitude can make in one’s life. Every thought we think is truly creating our future. The more gratitude we express, the more comes into our daily experience for which we are thankful. The more we practice gratitude, the more we notice. Conversely, the more negative thoughts we have and the more un-thankfulness we exhibit, the more of such we will receive.


What is a simple gratitude practice? A simple practice is to keep a gratitude journal. In the morning or the evening, simply make a list of daily experiences for which you are thankful. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. Below are some examples from my journal. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Thursday
• Morning walk with Cooper
• The cat sitting on my lap while watching tv
• Fresh baked bread
• Yoga
• A call from my friend Deb
• A card from my mom

Friday
• Yoga
• Morning tea
• Watching Moonstruck with a fire in the fireplace
• Painting in the studio
• Found a $10 gift card to Starbucks in the drawer

And of course, I share a favorite quote:

“The past is over and done and cannot be changed. This is the only moment we can experience. Deep at the center of my being there is an infinite well of gratitude. I now allow this gratitude to fill my heart, my body, my mind, my consciousness, my very being. This gratitude radiates out from me in all directions, touching everything in my world, and returns to me as more to be grateful for. The more gratitude I feel, the more I am aware that the supply is endless.” – Louise Hay

Hand colored Linocut by Artist RH Zondag

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