Art Journal Lab: Gratitude Practice


In Art Journal Lab last week, the theme was gratitude practice.

I know, I know. Everyone's talking about gratitude these days, and we all know how important it is to feel grateful. But it never can hurt to have a reminder or a structure in how to connect to our gratitude. As much as I know how helpful gratitude is for wellness and happiness--I had never brought this topic to my class. It felt like it was time.

As I was flying back from NYC to Baja, I was aware of feeling a new emotional low--what might be called a period of the dark night of the soul. A time when I have lost connection with my vitality & inner purpose. A time when I feel a lot of self-doubt and anxiety. During these times I am usually not creating as much, and the lack of my music and writing practice has a negative effect on my emotions. My higher self put these practices in place for me because she knew that I am emotionally sensitive and high-energy, and that I need multiple and regular channels in which to express all that is erupting out of me. But sometimes I go through brief periods where I avoid my practices because my inner critic is lurking in those shadows, and I don't want to confront her (or them, as I have a trio of inner critics.)

When all else fails, or is too scary or complex, gratitude practice is an easy and quick way to raise your vibrational frequency, or in other words, for those of you who don't relate to that view of the universe, to feel better.

Here are five types of gratitude that I shared in class:

1) Go To Gratitude - What is easy for you to feel grateful for. This will be different for each of us, but my go to gratitude is my beautiful son Emilio.

2) Bottom Line Gratitude - What may or not be easy for you to feel grateful for, but what is always there, what is essential and what you can connect to in the present moment. EG: Being alive, Health, Spirit or God, Nature, Having a body, or feelings.

3) Self Gratitude - Feeling grateful for your unique gifts. This is helpful when we are feeling low in confidence and are only identifying with our insecurities. We all have unique gifts.

4) Future Gratitude - Connecting with what you are creating in your life, or trying to attract (if you are working on the law of attraction method of magnetizing what you most desire in your life). Imagining that you already have the thing, situation, experience, quality that you are cultivating and then feeling grateful for it. Filling ourselves up with gratitude is the best way for us to attract what we want to bring into our life.

5) Past Gratitude - This perhaps is the hardest one of all, but possibly the most beneficial in terms of being able to transform suffering into meaning. This is one of the exercises we worked on in class. First, through meditation, pick a few moments of your day yesterday that you feel grateful for right now. Really focus on the feeling of gratitude. Where does it live in your body? Imagine it. Breathe into it. Allow it to grow. Then go through your yesterday again, and pick one thing that was a struggle for you. Now see if you can find some gratitude about some aspect of the difficult experience. Did you learn something important about yourself or another? Was there something present that you felt grateful for even though what you were mostly noticing the struggle?

Try these practices yourself. Pick 10-15 minutes where you won't be interrupted. Allow yourself to relax through deep breathing and asking your muscles to relax. Then pick a day or time period that you want to focus your gratitude on and pick one of the above practices. Feel free to share here how it went for you.