Practices to Awaken Gratitude

At times we can feel overwhelmed by hurt, anger, fear, sadness, loss, anxiety.  This closes our heart and leaves us feeling alone and separate.  Now is a good time to write a gratitude list.  It won’t solve the challenging life situation and it’s not about ignoring or suppressing the feelings.  Practicing appreciation does help to reconnect us to our heart, giving us some space from the wounded emotions and the story that our mind is creating.  From the space, we are more able to understand the bigger picture – the underlying motives, habits and patterns of our self as well as the other.  This can facilitate transformation from the wounded mind states back to peace, love and joy.

Dedicate the month of October to the practice of Gratitude:  each day add something new to your gratitude list, just one or two things that have touched you during the day.  Notice what changes in your body, heart and mind as well as in your Life…

I also invite you to take a moment now to sit quietly, become aware of your breath and let your attention settle into your heartspace.  Then bring to mind something in your life that you are grateful for at this very moment, it could be that you can smell the summer flowers, feel the touch of wind on your skin, that you have food to eat, friends who care about you… life itself!  Allow this image to settle into your heart and really develop a feeling of gratefulness for it.  Watch and feel what changes in your body, heart and mind.  Spend a few moments experiencing how practicing gratitude heals and opens your heart.  Make this a daily practice for October as well.

“When you realise that behind all the worry, complaint and disapproval that goes on in your mind, the sun is always coming up in the morning, moving across the sky, and going down in the evening.  The birds are always out there collecting their food and making their nests and flying across the sky.  The grass is always being blown by the wind or standing still.  Food and flowers and trees are growing out of the earth.  There’s enormous richness.  You could develop your passion for life, your curiosity and your gratitude.  You could connect with your joyfulness.  You could start right now.”           Extract from the wisdom of no escape by Pema Chodron

The heart’s innate state is one of openness.  No matter what has happened in your life, you have an infinite capacity for love.


“The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up,
it’s a brand-new sun.
It’s born each morning, it lives for the duration of one day,
and in the evening it passes on, never to return again.
As soon as the children are old enough to understand,
the adults take them out at dawn and they say,
‘The sun has only one day.
You must live this day in a good way
so that the sun won’t have wasted precious time.’
Acknowledging the preciousness of each day is a good way to live,
a good way to reconnect with our basic joy.”           

Extract from ‘the wisdom of no escape’ by Pema Chodron

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