April Monthly Challenge: 5 days of Deep, Radical Gratitude
A more beautiful world is possible and it starts with an attitude of gratitude
Before this global pandemic broke out I had some ideas for what I thought we could do for the first monthly challenge. But in light of the global situation, I feel like we have enough challenge on our plate right now and maybe could do without anything extra!
So rather than go with my pre-coronavirus idea, I got thinking about what could really be of value to you as a reader, to me personally and of course what could be of service to the creation of a more beautiful world.
So the idea came to me of practicing gratitude. Most of us are stuck at home, maybe unable to go out for anything other than the essentials and it goes without saying that this is tough mentally, physically and spiritually.
Here in Madrid, at the time of writing, we have at least another 2 weeks of strict quarantine and possibly two more after that. And like everyone else, there is so much I´m missing about my pre-corona life- namely going out and being in nature. Here we have no garden and no balcony. Nor are there any trees on my street. Normally the nearby river gives me the connection to nature that I need and without it I must say, city life is pretty tough!
So I have been revelling in the little displays of nature available to me from my doorstep- the overgrown wildflowers of the church, the birds flying overhead, the passing clouds, the sounds of rain, the stillness of the night, the neighbourhood stray cats that have started to come out more…even the weeds that grow between the cracks in the tarmac!
It´s so amazing how suddenly the tiniest of nature´s gifts are enough to lift my spirits and fill me with gratitude.
So I want to invite you to join me in this daily practise of gratitude through this difficult time we are facing to see whether it can make a difference to you too.
The instructions are as follows:
For 5 consecutive days take 5 minutes to contemplate the things that you have in your life right now that you are grateful for. It could be something physical such as a nice warm bed or a soothing cup of tea or perhaps a moment of the day, such as a beautiful sunset from your window or nice phone call with a friend.
Write down your contemplations, thoughts and experiences along with the day, for example Day 1…… Day 2…… Day 3…..
It doesn´t need to be very long, nor be very profound (although it could be!) or be like fine literature (although it could be- I don´t want to underestimate you! 😉 ).
Just a short journal recording your experiences whilst practising 5 days of gratitude. Remember to attach your name, your country and a picture or two (of yourself or of something you would like to share).
The idea is that you will then send it to me and I will collate all the entries that I receive and at the end of the month and I will post them all in an article to share with others.
(If you send it to me later than the end of the month I can still add it to the article, even if it has already been published so don´t worry if you find out about this late).
The idea is that through this monthly challenge we can begin to create a community of voices and help inspire and support others who also share the same vision of a more beautiful world.
Gratitude– Our Life Jacket in Testing Times
As the world is changing and the level uncertainty increases I think it is going to be ever more important that we maintain an attitude of gratitude in order to keep a positive outlook and not get weighed down with all the negativity around us in the press or in society overall.
For me, a more beautiful world consists of people who are full of gratitude for life and the small gifts the Earth offers us every moment. These gifts are there for the taking but sometimes we are too distracted by our day to days lives, our jobs and our to-do lists to notice them. Or else too caught up in our heads to be present enough to spot them.
Now we have been given the perfect opportunity to slow down and really see what is there for the taking.
So let´s all take 5 minutes every day to stop and see what gift is there for us, waiting to be opened and appreciated.
We are better and more effective agents of change when we have a heart full of gratitude. We are more joyful, more generous and inspired, and therefore more likely to inspire others.
Life is just more beautiful when we are living in gratitude!
Gratitude as Self Care
Whilst we are in service to The More Beautiful World, we are also in service to our highest self. So let´s do this first of all for ourselves, as a way of practising self-care.
And if you are still lacking in inspiration or you feel like you don´t have a lot right now to be grateful for, let me tell you a story to finish.
A Love Letter from the Universe
What I am about to share with you in something that I come back to time and time again when I need a bit of a boost and also a reminder of the miraculous nature of the Universe.
I found it crumpled up on the floor of the metro one morning as I made my way to work. I was feeling a bit grumpy and not in the best of moods. The night before I had been meditating for a good while and I still woke up on the wrong side of the bed! ´Mediation shmeditation´ I thought as I sat waiting for the metro.
Then as I looked down to check the time, this crumpled up bit of paper caught my eye. Thinking it would be a shopping list or something and feeling curious, I picked it up.
The first word I saw was ´blessings´. As l live in a Catholic country I assumed it would be something related to the church. Not one for organised religion, I was a bit apprehensive to open it at first, but being a bit nosy I couldn´t resist…
I was blown away when I opened it up and found these amazing words inside. I will write them below.
For me, this was a lesson in deep, radical, gratitude.
´´Bathroom mirror: Good Morning! I truly love you, I really, really do. I love you! Today great experiences await us! You have the most beautiful smile in the world, your hair is perfect- we are already having a fantastic day. I love you deeply.
Shower: I love my body and my body loves me. It is such a pleasure to take a shower, the water is delicious! I am grateful to the people who designed and made this shower. My life is full of blessings and they bring me happy thoughts all day.
Toilet: I empty myself freely of all that my body doesn´t need. Consumption, assimilation and elimination are all in perfect divine order.
Kitchen: Hi Kitchen, you are my centre of nutrition. I truly appreciate you. You and all the electric appliances that help me prepare delicious and nutritious food. There is so much good and healthy food in my refrigerator. I can make delicious, nutritious and healthy food easily.
You help me feel joyful and happy.
I love you ´´
May all of us be capable of such profound gratitude for all the things we so easily take for granted in our everyday lives.
From the comfortable toilet to our bowels giving us the urge to go, may we live in gratitude every minute of every day.
Thank you to the unknown person who was annonymously practising the deepest and most radical gratitude I have ever come across.
Your personal note, crumpled and folded and well used remains in my care.
I consider it my personal obligation to continue to give life to your words and make them part of my every experience of life.
5 days of deep, radical, gratitude- let´s do it!
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