What are you grateful for? Take a moment and think of one or two things, we’ll wait!
Gratitude is our continued focus this month, specifically on developing an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ These things take practice, after all.
One thing we’re grateful for is both the challenges and miracles 2021 brought us in spades (along with just about everything in between!). We’re also grateful for the GROK products which allowed us to sort through, express, and connect with our feelings and needs, while also tuning in to ‘what matters most’ to others in our lives.
Reflecting on gratitude brings me back to years ago, when I was privileged to study with world-renowned cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien (1940-2014). It is an experience I will forever be grateful for. I want to share with you a particularly powerful (and slightly edited...for time) interview she gave in 2012 all about our focus for the month: GRATITUDE
I think just the practice of gratitude, if we were just to do that one practice, is what keeps the heart open. And when the heart is open, there’s more curiosity; there’s greater curiosity than there is criticality. And when the heart is open, there’s a capacity for generosity that emerges.
One method of cultivating gratitude is, at the end of the day, to look at what really worked well:
• at work
• in my relationships
And to explore:
• areas in which I grew today personally in my own character
• risks that I may have taken
The process of reflection also helps- taking a look at the four universal tracking questions:
• What inspired me today?
• What or Who challenged me?
• What surprised me today?
• What touched and moved me today?
These are doorways to integrating our experience. And when we can integrate our experience, then we can open to gratitude.
Of course, there are times in our lives where something happens and we aren’t able to access our gratitude. There are many times that we have what T. S. Eliot called “the wasteland” or “dark places.” Or we just can’t understand. My experience has taught me that often these dark places are places where the heart begins to close down through resentments or disappointments, or places where we feel harmed by others, or experiences of betrayal. These are hard places in which to grapple with gratitude because the heart has begun to close.
That’s when I go to the portal, “Well, this is a place of learning” which is invaluable and provides the opportunity to course-correct.
Also… hindsight has inevitably been a place of deep growth.
Researchers Emmons and McCullough (The Psychology of Gratitude) and psychologist John Gottman discovered that relationships benefit if they have what is called the “five-to-one ratio” – five appreciations for each other to one complaint; rather than five complaints to one appreciation.
There have also been research results showing that the act of practicing gratitude: • strengthens the immune system, as well as overall health and happiness • increases creativity and productivity
• affects our long-term financial well-being
Gratitude is indeed an incredible force! It is also a force at its most powerful when it's the hardest to give. Our darkest times, our hardest experiences, begin to close our hearts to the light of the world around us. Only through gratitude, by opening our hearts once more, that we can find our way back into the light. Such is the power of gratitude.
With abundant gratitude to Nonviolent Communication founder Marshall Rosenberg for the gift of NVC, and to you our valued customers and friends, for your trust and use of our materials ~ ~
Jean with Christine, and Claire