Mindfulness is something which is talked about a lot these days and I confess that whilst it is something I want to learn more about and practice, I haven’t done so yet. For me though it’s more about practising gratitude and through this I think a certain level of mindfulness will come.
If I’m honest, practising gratitude didn’t come easy and it wasn’t something I did at the very start of my journey.
Before my husband was diagnosed with depression and during the time it was blatantly obvious to me that he was suffering, I found very little to be grateful for!
I felt lonely, unloved and exhausted by the mountain I had to climb. I faced having a baby, building a business, losing my mum and frankly facing that with a husband who, try as he might, wasn’t there as he used to be; I was lonely, so what did I have to be grateful for?
I started to look for things, however I went about it the wrong way. I was looking for the wrong things, for example being grateful for a new car. Having a new car is very exciting, but it doesn’t last. That feeling quickly goes away. A new car brings excitement, but it doesn’t cultivate joy, I wanted to cultivate some joy in my life.
I realised that I needed to be grateful for the small things, of which there are so many in our lives. The comfort of a hot, wonderfully flowing shower in the morning, which lifts my soul and gives me a moment of indulgence, (especially if I use an aromatherapy oil first!). The moment of going into my sons room and greeting him for the first time that day. The ability to flick on a light switch and be able to illuminate the room I am in, so I am no longer in the dark.
Starting with the small things, noticing the small things, you begin to realise that there is so much to be grateful for and it lightens your soul. As you notice these, more become clear and your spirit starts to feel happier and lighter.
I noticed an outcome I wasn’t expecting from gratitude. I started to feel love more deeply than I had before, for everything and everyone.
I stopped stressing the big things. I was so stressed about making sure I could take my family to Cyprus for a week I was putting myself under intense pressure. I though this is what would make us happy. Then I realised it’s not about the location, it’s a state of being.
My biggest state of bliss is being at home with my boys (husband and son) and doing something together as a family which brings us joy. It could be something as simple as planting potatoes with the excitement of digging them up when they have grown. Listening to Henry shouting “look mummy I’ve found another one and it’s enormous”, as he gently lifts his fork out of the ground.
What a wonderful thing earth is! It grows potatoes, to feed us and to provide an opportunity as a family to do something amazing together; to grow.
I am grateful for all these moments, the simple moments in life which bring me joy. I am grateful for our health. We may be facing a struggle with mental illness; however, I am grateful for how much closer that is now bringing my family. We have been in the dark together and now we are coming into the light. We have seen our worst bits and we are still together, we are stronger and closer.
I will continue to say my Gratitude Prayer every morning and every evening. I feel it give me strength and joy every time.
Why not write your own? I add to mine when I feel the time is right, it evolves, as will you and your prayer.
You don’t need to be religious to write a gratitude prayer, if you are, you can say it to God, if you’re not you can say it to the Universe. The power is to feel it.
Practising gratitude brings joy and with joy comes the peace and strength to support those you love. Click here for some suggestions for Gratitude Prayers (including my own, which I am happy to share).