‘Shift your attitude towards gratitude.’ That’s what my online yoga teacher, SaraBethYoga teaches in her fantastic online yoga videos. I highly recommend these to anyone who loves yoga or is interested in trying it out. She has videos for all levels and abilities in a variety of different styles. In current circumstances, I think it’s more important than ever to be grateful for what we have. Today’s Discover Prompt is ‘Grateful,’ so I’ll start off this post by expressing my gratitude to WordPress for the daily prompts which have helped me maintain my writing momentum during the past few weeks.
If, like me, you sometimes struggle with an excess of negative thoughts or focus, it can help to make a ‘gratitude list.’ There are things for which I am inherently grateful, such as my family, my friends, my health. These would be top of my list, and I don’t really need to make a list to remind myself that I’m grateful for them. But what about the smaller details? I’ve been stunned by the colour and abundance of spring flowers which I’ve noticed while taking my kids for their daily exercise (this newfound freedom being something else for which I am thoroughly grateful). Then there’s birdsong every morning and evening, light breezes blowing through the trees and the sea view from the terrace. Being able to walk down to the sea again. An abundance of food in the fridge, still having a job: I’m very lucky, and I know it. But I’m not of the sanctimonious school of people who say ‘some people have it so much harder than you: you have no right to be sad.’ I still struggle with depression. I don’t know if it’s an illness or an attitude problem. It’s certainly a slow process trying to work my way through it, step by baby step. But for all the things above, and many more, I am truly grateful.
Shifting Focus away from the Material
For a long time, the acquisition of material possessions seemed an important focus of my life. Shopping (or ‘retail therapy’ as the marketing gurus would have us call it) was a leisure activity. I dreamed of a big house in the country and a summer house on the beach. Of course, I would still like to have these things. But having spent some time reflecting on my current situation, I’ve realised I can get by pretty well with just the following ‘basics:’ food, fresh air and family, a guitar and a yoga mat. As I love reading and writing, I would also like to keep hold of my laptop and an internet connection. And books (the old-fashioned, paper variety) do have a special place in my life. But the designer sunglasses, meals in expensive restaurants and five star hotel breaks I can do without. I’m grateful for this realisation, which has been born out of a difficult situation. I also realise, of course, that everyone’s situation is different. Some people live in extreme poverty, others in extreme wealth. Everybody’s gratitude list will look different. And I would never tell you that you need to make one, or try to instruct you how to live your life. I’d only like to say I’m grateful to anyone who has taken the time to read this. Please feel free to share your gratitude list with me, or comment on this post below.
Have a wonderful rest of the day.