“Today I am grateful for my mother’s cheerful attitude, and for the ease I notice in my back.”
This is what I wrote in the BodyIntelligence Community Facebook group on March 16th, Day 3 of my “Gratitude and Ease” practice.
I have just returned from a trip to the UK to see my parents. It was basically a care-giving visit. My mother has Alzheimer’s and my dad is unsteady on his feet, and pretty much housebound these days, though, thankfully, cognitively okay.
For the duration of my two-week stay I decided to have a very simple “gratitude and ease” practice. I wanted something doable and easy – both for me, and for others in my Facebook group who might find it useful.
So, each day I posted just one thing I was grateful for and one place in my body where I noticed ease. Members of the group were invited to join me in my practice, and many commented with things they were grateful for and places where they noticed ease.
Keeping it to just one thing of each – one thing I was thankful for, and one place I noticed ease in my body – made it simple and easy to do. And, because I had publicly announced my intention in the group, I felt more accountable to keep it up for the fifteen days of my visit. I also felt supported by the members of the group, and it was helpful to read their comments.
Initially I had thought of simply having a gratitude practice, but I decided to add noticing ease as I find it so beneficial. Indeed, there is a commonality in the practices. Both involve taking the time to notice what we usually take for granted. Most of the time we give our attention to what we don’t have, to what is going wrong, uncomfortable or painful – both in our life and in our body. We forget that there is much more to us and our life than this. Reminding ourselves of what we have to be grateful for and giving a little attention to the places in our body that are not “shouting” at us helps redress our typically one-sided perspective, giving us a more holistic and accurate picture of ourselves and our life. Furthermore, many studies have shown that practicing gratitude has tangible benefits, from lowering stress levels to being happier!*
Interestingly, as I wrote my posts each day, I realized that voicing gratitude and noticing ease started to run together. I ended up being grateful for one thing in my life AND for the place where I noticed ease in my body. I was – and am – grateful for both.
Especially during this time with my parents when their problems, and how to tackle them, were naturally at the forefront of my mind, this simple practice was super helpful, and was part of my daily self-care for the duration of my trip.
So, today, why don’t you try out this practice for yourself.
I’ve found it rewarding not only in my personal life, but also in business and work, where the stress of problems to be solved, deadlines, and more, can seem like the whole deal, but that’s just not true. I’ve found there is always something to be grateful for, and somewhere to notice a bit of ease. You just have to take the time to look.
I invite you to write in the comments below one thing for which you are grateful today, and one place in your body where you notice some ease right now. I’d also love to hear any other thoughts you have on this practice.
*Arianna Huffington, Thrive (New York, Harmony Books), 127, 130.
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