splash of water

Splashed in the Face with Gratitude

At this point, my husband and I have caught up on all our favorite Netflix shows and have watched all the movies we can find by our favorite directors or starring our favorite actors. We are now at the point of closing our eyes and choosing something, anything, and crossing our fingers that it has substance or a tad of entertainment. Sometimes there is a surprise-find like the memoir documentary, Cracked Up, which explores Darryl Hammond’s recovery from childhood trauma. And sometimes we do not do so well.

Whatever we choose we give it the five (5) minute rule. A mobster movie by Ben Affleck did not make it past five minutes. A quirky passion project by Noël Wells made it past the first five minutes and all the way to the end (although I don’t recommend it). Both were written and directed by the lead actor which, to me, is the sign of disaster. We all need someone else to call us on our bad choices. At times, we can use someone on the outside to see what we cannot see because we are in the picture. However, having a trusted friend or mentor giving us a reality check, is a concept for another post.

Why I bring these films up is because one of the running gags in Ms. Wells’ movie is throwing water in the face of someone who is spazzing out.  When a character is upset, mad, sad, angry, frustrated, or at the end of their rope, a glass of water is thrown in their face. At first, the soaked character is angry but then they soften into laughter. For me, gratitude is like a glass of water in the face. No matter what is going on, if I can take a few minutes and recite what I am grateful for, I find that my bad mood is miraculously lifted.

water splash
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

For many years, I tried to think myself out of pain. I would use logic. I would use cognitive behavior therapy tools. Yet my mind seemed to get trapped in resentments and fears. This is because the mind that created the problem, could not solve the problem. I had to get out of my mind. I find now that action more than thinking helps me break my funk. In Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, Richard Rohr states, “Humans tend to live themselves into new ways of thinking more than think themselves into new ways of living.” Living differently, acting differently gets me out of a funk more quickly than trying to think my way out of it.

The action I take may be to phone a friend to see how they are doing, to go for a walk, or to consciously do the dishes. These activities help me break the replaying of my mental angst. They are that glass of water. A gratitude list is also a powerful action. Ann Voskamp said, “No amount of regret changes the past. No amount of anxiety changes the future. ANY amount of gratitude changes the present.”

After decades of researching, coaching, and self-reflection, I have finally realized that knowing why I am feeling bad is great knowledge, but knowledge does not give me peace. Changing others in the hopes that I feel better is impossible and if I does happen, their change does not help my thinking. Trying to convince my mind to think and believe differently takes a lot of reprogramming and does not solve everything. The solution lies not solely in the mind, but in the heart and in action.

Every morning I take a few moments to recount what I am grateful for and if I need to, which I usually do, I also focus on gratitude throughout my day. I find this keeps me away from focusing on lack. Gratitude helps me find joy, appreciate my relationships, and keeps me in the moment – not in the regret of the past or the worry of the future.

Here is a small example of how-to turnaround anxiety into gratitude. My neighbors’ have a lot of cars they park on the street which makes it hard for me to back into my driveway. This used to make me angry (mostly because it is tough for me to back-in even when there are not obstacles). When I notice my mind replaying negativity about my parking situation, I begin to recite my gratitude. I have a car. I have the ability to drive. I have a house with a driveway where it is kept. I have money for gas. I have the ability to buy groceries because I can drive to the store. I follow the gratitude story for as long as I need to in order to feel calm and centered again.

Take a moment now. What are you worried, anxious or upset about? Can you turn it into gratitude? Can you stop thinking and take action?

Melissa Heisler

Harnessing the Power of Gratitude-Intention-Affirmation (GIA)

Recently I have been guided to increase, revise and recommit myself to my morning routine.  My practice was slacking a bit and it seemed to be missing some important elements.  Here is my current, recommitted routine.  Every morning for years now, I read the Daily Guide in Science of Mind magazine.  I always find these short articles to be thought provoking.  The messages usually help me start my day with compassion, understanding, and hope.  A new element I have added to my routine is “tapping.”  You may know tapping as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).  Basically it is a physical way to affect our mental programming.  After I have reset my energy and thoughts with tapping, I then meditate.  To rededicate myself to my routine, I have chosen a longer meditation to really ground and connect me.  Next I create my day using the power of GIA – Gratitude, Intention and Affirmation.  Gratitude, Intention and Affirmations are overlapping and very powerful tools.  Making Gratitude, Intention and Affirmation statements are the way you define how you see the world and how you expect to experience it.  GIA is the way to create your day.  Let’s explore the power of GIA.

Melissa Heisler

Gratitude

Gratitude frames the way we experience life.  Without Gratitude, our fear-seeking monkey-minds focus on lack.  For our survival, our minds normal state is to look for negativity so we can combat it and survive.  But negativity is not pleasurable to experience and more importantly it does not help motivate us to the next better.  Negativity tends to keep us stuck.  Writing a Gratitude list daily helps us to:

1)      Recognize the good we do have in our life.  Again our monkey-mind tends to focus us on the negative.  It is necessary to actively focus on the good.

2)      Frame our day in abundance instead of lack.  There is so much we have to be grateful for – air, shelter, clothing, the Internet, puppies.  The list we make can be our proof that things are good, full, prosperous, and abundant.

3)      Open us to more good.  When we start counting our blessings it empowers us to expect to receive more.

Usually I start my Gratitude List with something like:  “Thank you for another wonderful day of life.”  Feel free to define the “you” as you like.  Or when I am feeling giddy I might write, “Thank you for letting me wake up on the green side of the grass.”  Then I launch into all of those things I normally take for granted like air, food, shelter, friends, being able to read, etc.  Next I give thanks something wonderfully unexpected that happened the day before like receiving a new client or getting a prime parking spot.  Finally I say thank you for what I want.  These last statements are written in the present as if I have already received them like:  “Thank you for sending me the right clients at the right time” or “Thank you for guiding me to make the best decisions.”  There are no rules for content.  Just speak from the heart.

Gratitude for things we want to receive starts to blend into the area of Intention and Affirmation as those two are more focused on what is to come.  For some, Intention, Affirmation and Prayer are interchangeable.  For me, I like to differentiate Intention and Affirmation by the type of goal, desire, need, prayer is being requested.  Intention is about the physical world and our needs now.  Affirmation is about our state of being and experience.

Intention

Living your lifeIntention relates to our needs and desires outside of ourselves.  Intention is about relating to others, the world, our environment, and our day to day life.  You can create your Intention statements by answering questions like:  How do we want to relate to people?  What do we want to accomplish today, this week, this year?  How do we want to experience our job?  Where do we want our business or career to go?  What do we want to receive or own?  Where do we want to travel?  What do we want to experience like a play, concert, or exhibit?  Ask yourself what you want to do, own, or have.  Ask yourself how you want to be in relationship to others such as being a powerful speaker, setting boundaries, or being charismatic.  Write these statements in the present and in the affirmative for example, “I complete the work I set out to do today.”

For some it may be difficult to create Intentions because they are unclear about what they want, they believe they don’t deserve what they desire, or they believe their desire is impossible to have.  If this occurs for you, take the negative belief that comes up for you like “I don’t deserve to have a new iPod” and turn into an Affirmation “I deserve to receive all my heart desires.”  Let’s learn about Affirmations.

Affirmation

In contrast to Intention’s outward focus, I see Affirmations as focused on our internal experience.  Affirmations are how we want to be, how we want to experience life, how we want to act, and what we want to believe.  You can create your Affirmation statements by looking in great books like You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and find Affirmations or belief statements to help you with current physical elements.  You can also create your own statements.  There are Affirmation statements which deal with our belief of the world and how the world works.  These usually begin with “I am” such as “I am safe” or “I am guided and supported to receive good.”  There are personal belief Affirmations which revolve around how we see ourselves.  Examples are “I accept and embrace my full power” and “I love and approve of myself.”  Then there are state of being Affirmations which set how we want to experience life such as “I find joy in every moment.”

 

I encourage you to try GIA out for a week and see how your mood, your environment, and your outcomes are affected.  Namaste.