The greatest and simplest thing we can do for our own health and well-being is to be grateful. To be grateful for what we have right now.
Grateful for the many gifts that have come into our lives, whether they are family, friends, opportunities, or activities.
Grateful for Mother Earth and all living beings in the world.
Grateful that we have yet another day to live upon this earth and share our purpose.
Do you have a regular gratitude practice?
There are many scientific studies now that have found that people who focus on gratitude regularly experience a greater sense of health and well-being.
And yet so many of us are feeling sad, fearful and overwhelmed these days.
Want to access a profound sense of gratitude to support your health and well-being? Check out my upcoming course Master Your Creativity, starting again on November 3rd!
Being grateful opens the door to hope and a positive outlook on life. When we’re grateful for the many gifts that we’re given each day, we experience joy and meaning in our lives. It also offers us a key to accessing abundance and infinite creativity.
“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
by Brother David Steindl-Rast
Often we know this in our minds, but it’s harder to put into a regular practice.
There are many ways for us to practice gratefulness, but one of my favorite ways is in movement.
I invite you to join me right now! Let’s practice gratitude in movement together. First, take a moment to read through the steps before you get started. Then, let’s dive in together.
A Gratitude Practice in Movement
1. Stand with your feet firmly on the ground in a place you feel comfortable and won’t worry about being interrupted or watched. This will help you to be expressive in your movement without being self-conscious. If you’d like to play some soft, soothing music, without lyrics, in the background, you’re welcome to. But it’s not necessary.
2. Focus on your breathing. Once you’ve settled into your body with feet firmly on the ground, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Don’t change your breath, just focus on your breathing. In and out. For 1-2 minutes.
3. Center yourself. Continue focusing on your breath and say to yourself, I am grateful for the inner guidance and wisdom that I always have within me, and I return to that now.
4. Ask a question. Continue breathing normally and now ask yourself the question, what am I grateful for? Don’t try to force answers or make a list in your mind. Simply ask the question. Allow images or thoughts or words to come to you.
5. Be open to what arises. Then ask the question again, what am I grateful for? Take one image or thought and imagine how it might move. Maybe it flows, maybe it reaches out, maybe it folds in slowly. Holding that image in your mind, create a simple movement that embodies this one thing that you’re grateful for. As you hold gratitude for this in your mind and heart, repeat that simple movement expressing your gratitude for it with your whole body, your whole being.
6. Center yourself once again. After a couple minutes, come back to stillness, cross your arms over your chest and place your feet firmly on the ground. Allow your breath to settle once again.
7. Repeat this exercise 2 more times, if you’d like. Ask the question again, what am I grateful for? Allow an image or thought to arise. Consider how that idea might move and begin to move it. As you hold gratitude for this in your mind and heart, repeat that simple movement expressing your gratitude for it with your whole body.
8. Close with gratitude. When you have completed this 3 times, come back to your center. Ground your feet and allow your breathing to slow down. Hold gratitude in your heart and mind for the inner guidance that you have accessed during this practice.
Don’t worry if you forget a part once you get started or only want to do it one time today! What’s most important is that you embodied your feeling of gratitude within your whole being – mind, heart and body.
Gratitude in movement can bring your practice of gratefulness to a new level as you embrace and express it within your whole being in motion.
And it’s so much fun too!
Want to continue to explore how to embody feelings of gratitude with your whole being? Check out my upcoming course Master Your Creativity, starting again on November 3rd.
You are an artist. I am an artist. Each one of us is an artist! Check out a recent blog to explore this idea further here.
You may not always think of yourself as an artist, but you are! You’re capable of creating, of bringing forth something new to life in a moment of inspiration and imagination.
Being creative is in our nature, as human beings. Being creative brings us back to our true nature.
However, getting started in an artistic activity can be overwhelming, I know!
Where do I start?
How do I start?
What do I create?
And how do I create it?
I invite you to let go of all those questions in your mind that may be overwhelming you right now, and let’s remember why you might want to engage in a creative art.
How does art bring health and healing to us?
Engaging in an artistic activity…
1. Brings you into the present moment
When you’re engaged in art, you become focused on your creation and all of the chatter in your mind and in your life fades into the background. You become fully present in the moment.
2. Creates a meditative state of calmness and quiet
As you engage with your artistic creation, you enter into a calmer state within your mind and body. Your breath slows down and your body relaxes. You’ll enter into a more meditative state of being, releasing stress and invigorating your whole being.
3. Helps you to be open to receive
As your mind and body slow down and relax, you become more open to receiving. We often spend a lot of time giving to others. Here’s an opportunity to enjoy this creative time and be open to receiving the divine messages that come to you, the joy of artistic activity, the gratitude for this one life you have and the opportunity to engage in creative ways.
4. Develops your ability to accept, trust and follow your intuition
As you open to receive, you’ll be better able to tap into your intuition as a guide. Listen inwardly. What calls to you as you create? What color, what form, what movement?
What arises may not be what you were thinking at the onset! This is an opportunity to accept what comes. Accept your experience in creating and your final form of creation, in whatever way that comes. Accept that they’re exactly as they should be in that moment. No judgment, no regrets. Accept the process, the result and yourself as creator.
5. Energizes and strengthens you
As the time of your creative activity comes to a close, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment from engaging in the present moment, being open to receiving and connecting with your intuition. Your whole being will feel fed and nourished – mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. You’ll begin to feel a sense of rejuvenation, a replenishing of your energy and strength to move out into the world once again.
So, let’s jump in and get started! We’re going to explore color through drawing today. If you missed my exploration in playing with paint, you can find it here.
But today, we’ll be accessing our inner power through drawing. Find some blank paper and colored pencils. Or even crayons.
Take time to read through the steps below before you begin, so that you have a complete picture of the whole process. Keeping in mind, of course, that the process is more important than the product.
Set your materials out in front of you, and don’t be daunted by that blank white page. Take a few deep breaths and sit quietly for a moment and think of a question you have in your life right now. One that maybe connects with your purpose or your relationships or your next steps on your life’s journey. Hold that question inwardly for a few quiet minutes.
Pick up the colored pencil that calls to you and bring that color to the paper in the way that seems to be needed in that moment. Maybe it is sharp lines or gentle curves or small strokes in a corner.
Pick up another color or 2 or 3, as you continue to think of your question, adding more color to the paper. Maybe your colors start to create forms or a landscape or maybe not. It doesn’t matter. Let the question come to life on the paper through your efforts.
When you feel you’re ready to shift to the next step, look at your creation.
What color or shape or form needs to come into play on the paper to create wholeness?
What’s calling to you to be created for completion?
Here you’re tapping into your intuition, your higher connection, to see what arises as a response to your question. Allow it to come, to arise without judgment, without analysis, without filtering it.
When that creative inspiration arrives, you may feel a vibrant flow of energy that moves through your whole body. You know you’re part of something greater.
Stay engaged, listening and trusting that what arises will be perfect and will be what’s needed today.
By now, you may be choosing different colors to bring balance to what you first created or you may be completing a form that arose or even creating something completely new that comes to you. Again, it does not matter.
Follow the impulses that come to you and trust that’s what is needed to complete this journey on paper.
When you arrive at the place of a satisfying completion, you can sit back and rest for the moment. Let a sense of peace with deep gratitude for this moment of creativity arise.
Look at your creation. Trust that it’s perfect for right now, for today. Listen to the message that speaks through the creation on paper to you today.
Hold that message in your heart, knowing it will blossom forth in the days to come.
Want to awaken your creative, playful side in a journey through the life of my muse, St. Hildegard of Bingen? Check out my upcoming course Master Your Creativity, starting again this November.
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.