A recent phenomenon on the internet is the Gratitude challenge. Essentially, someone challenges you to post 3 things you’re grateful for every day for 5 days. You’re also supposed to challenge 3 other people to also express Gratitude for 5 days. I got the challenge from a friend of mine on September 4. So I’ve started the challenge, and there are several things I’ve noticed.
The first is I don’t like the term “challenge” when asking someone to be Grateful. That just doesn’t sound right to me. I first “invited” people to share Gratitude. Since then, I refer to it as a Gratitude practice. Which set me to thinking about what a practice actually is. The definition that makes the most sense to me is “anything done repeatedly and with a clear intention”. That’s exactly what I set out to do; to express my Gratitude for the things that happen in MY LIFE. This leads to a second thing I’ve noticed about this practice.
If I’m only Grateful for the “Good” things that happen, I miss out on a lot of “Good” things. Many times, “bad” things have brought much ‘Good” into MY LIFE. So if you visit my Facebook page, you may see me refer to some things that don’t seem so good. For example, I recently got very frustrated with a Yoga teacher training I’m participating in. Even the smallest thing set me off. It finally dawned on me that while I’d been a teacher for 20+ years, I hadn’t been a student in a rigorous learning environment in over 30 years. I simply had to re-learn how to be a student! To say this was a revelation to me is putting it mildly. So the “bad” frustration brought me to the “Good” realization of my changing roles. And that’s another thing I noticed from this practice.
My ego is really tied up in the roles I play. Being a teacher has been a calling for me; it still is. So when I realized have to step back from that major role, it really pissed me off. That’s where the aforementioned frustration came from. I’ve never really thought of myself as a person with a big ego. Letting go of the attachment to being a teacher has been a bit of a challenge. It’s forced me to look at my tendencies to be a workaholic. Identifying with the role of what I do has been costly to me in a lot of ways, especially when I’ve been self-employed. That’s why trying to create a life, not just a business has been so important to me.
I’ve also discovered something else. I’ve had a very transactional approach to Life. In other words, if I do this, I expect that. Life is all about cause and effect, sure. But I approached everything that way. I suppose that’s my entrepreneurial leanings coming out. But to treat everything as a transaction makes for a very pissed off Life. Ask me how I know that…
As for the Gratitude practice, I continued on after the initial 5 days of the “invitation”. Only then did the things I’ve mentioned start to come out. I started out trying to retrain my mind to see more of the Good things in MY LIFE. But as happens to me so often, something else really cool occurred. I found out more about myself. That’s never a bad thing.by