“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” ~ Zig Ziglar
“It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” ~ William Arthur Ward
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” ~ Brene Brown
Since November is the month I always associate with gratitude, I thought I’d tell you a story that could to change your life.
You’ve been told that your thoughts create your reality. That’s not quite accurate, instead your thoughts create your experience of your reality. This distinction is an important one, and here is a story to illustrate how it can change your life when you grasp it.
Imagine that you live underground in a series of round cave rooms. There is a work cave, a home cave, a family cave, a self-image cave, etc. And since you are underground the only light you have comes from your magical miner’s hat. This hat is powered by your thoughts and it changes colors as your thoughts change. Now, the really special aspect of these rooms are they resonate with your individual magic hat, so you only see the part of your room that correlates with the light your hat is emitting.
Let’s take your work room as an example. If you hate your job, dislike your boss, dread going there every day, your hat emits a red light. So, when you are in your work room you can only see the section of the room that resonates with the color red. The rest of the room exists, you just cannot see it because red is the color you are emanating.
If you came to me upset over your job, wanting to quit and find a new one because you had this long list of woes here is what I’d tell you. Stop focusing on what you don’t like about your job and start focusing on what you are grateful for. And here is why I’d say that.
When you change your focus, you change your hypothetical headlamp color. And it doesn’t matter how trivial or silly the items on your list are, it only matters that you are intentionally shifting your focus. So, in this example maybe we’d begin with just the fact that they pay you to show up and you are grateful for that. Or that there is a refrigerator in the breakroom which allows you to bring your lunch and you’re grateful for that.
The most important thing is to start the list. Expect the first few entries to border on the trivial because you are priming a pump that has been dry for a long time. I’d instruct you to carry a small notebook with you every day so you can catch things you are grateful for and write them down in real time. The more you look for them the more you will see them.
After a while, your red lamp with begin to turn to green, so when you arrive in your work cave you are now looking at the green section on the wall and that is your new reality. The red section is still there, it’s just on the wall behind you in the dark so you no longer see it. The only thing that has changed is your focus. The room is the same, the people in it are the same, only your focus is different.
The point is not to keep you at that job, though that might happen, the point is to switch your focus. If you were to switch jobs while shining a red light you would attract jobs that resonate with red. By switching your light to green, you now are abler to find work rooms that are unlocked by green. The green rooms existed all along, you just couldn’t see them by shining your red light.
This illustration shows you that everything you want is already there waiting for you. You don’t need to control the creation, you only need to master your focus. What is doesn’t define your reality – how you interpret what is does.
How you interpret events happens so rapidly, most people think it is “truth” or “fact” and thus irrefutable. They don’t realize they created that reaction and they have the power to create another reaction; they have the power to intentionally create their personal reality. You have the power to intentionally create your reality! The first step is to realize that you created it in the first place! From there you are free to do it on purpose instead of unconsciously.
This is very important so I’m going to say it again – hear me now.
Step one is to realize that you created your experience of an event unconsciously thus you have the power to intentionally create another experience even if the event itself doesn’t change.
Your workplace didn’t change, Same location, same boss, same conditions. However, by switching your “light” or focus, your reality of that same boss, same location, and same conditions shifts.
In addition, when you change your dance steps sometimes the whole dance changes and now you don’t need to leave that job because the things that were missing are now present. And sometimes you know without a doubt that you are out of step with that job and now you are crystal clear about leaving.
Try this experiment for yourself. Pick an area in your life where you are unhappy. Begin a gratitude list. Write down 8-10 things immediately you can think of you are grateful for about that situation. Do this even if the only things you have to begin with seem inane. You are priming a dry pump!
Now carry a small notebook with you and jot down anything, no matter how small, that you can be grateful for as you go along in that situation. Write at least 5 things a day! After a while, it may be a week or it may be a month, you will realize how differently you now feel about this same situation.
Now from this new vantage point you will be able to make a conscious choice about how to handle it. You may no longer need to make a change, and that’s ok. You may still want to make a change, and that’s ok too. The important thing is now you can make a change that will serve you because you are coming from a positive place instead of a negative one.
You are more powerful than you give yourself credit for! Give this exercise a whirl and let me know how it works for you. You deserve a life filled with joy so go on, all you have to lose is some of your unhappiness