Today has had the theme of gratitude running through it. It seems that every facebook post I read, every book I pick up, everywhere I turn, someone is talking about the importance of gratitude. Every time I turn around, someone is thanking me, or I am thanking them. I cannot escape it, so I am going to embrace it.
The image to the left is something of a tradition I have recently started. It is called a Gratitude Board. You have heard of the Vision Boards that are popular with the manifestation movement? This is my version. They work the same way, but from a different end of the equation.
A Vision Board, if I understand it correctly, is an item composed of pictures of your dreams and aspirations, which sends a message to the universe. It is supposed to be a powerful method of working toward your dreams.
A Gratitude Board, conversely, is an item which expresses your deepest gratitude for the people and things around you. Taking account of what you have and being thankful for all of it is an act of enoughness. Yes, I did just make up that word. That sometimes happens when you are a badass. When I am full of thanks, full of enoughness, I need nothing more. How could I with all of the amazing people I have in my life? The opportunities I have to breathe in the air, laugh with a friend, walk in my boots? It is all so much, much more than I could have asked for just five years ago.
You know that feeling, at night, when you are worried or stressed because you wish you had said something to someone, but hadn't? Maybe stuck up for yourself, or someone else, but didn't? That doesn't happen to me. It used to, all the time, but ever since I have started searching for gratitude, basically forcing myself into it, it has become much easier to understand who to choose. It is always me.
That is how it starts. It starts with appreciating yourself, and not just the great parts. Not just my ass that is so perky people sit up and take notice, my diabolical sense of humor that keeps people laughing long after I have walked away, or my ability to throw a perfect spiral with a football. I also appreciate my mistakes, my ego, my self-righteousness that so often gets me into trouble. I sometimes say things that make people so uncomfortable, they are speechless, and not in a good way. I apologize to people all the time for the mistakes I make. I know that is part of me, and all that gives me opportunities to learn, day after day after day.
That is gratitude, and that is what leads to choosing yourself and taking care of yourself. Once you start being truly thankful for everything about you, you realize what you have, that stuff that no one can take from you. You start to guard it, to protect it, to understand how dire it is that you stand for it. You start to love it.
The world is full of people who do not stand for themselves. Most often this is the precise reason they are hard on other people. They remind me daily how important it is, how absolutely imperative it is that I appreciate all of who I am. This is how I can be grateful for them when they treat me badly. They remind me how good I have it, and how important it is to recognize it. I am so lucky to have that practice, and in the end grateful to them for giving it to me.
How about you? Are you grateful for your filth? Grateful for your loathsomeness? I challenge you to try it. Being grateful for that stuff makes the other stuff, the fun stuff, a walk in the park, gratitude-wise. Pick something and see how it feels. It is not at all easy, but in the end, it liberates you. You wanna sleep better? Give it a try. Want to walk around with a smile on your face? Practice loving your crap. The more you do it, the more you will recognize things, people, and experiences that you have to be grateful for.
Once you are grateful, there is no need for a Vision Board, because you see yourself as perfect. You realize that you are the Vision.
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