We are a mere few days from the end of the year, and it feels like an appropriate time to revisit some life improvement ideas that I used to share with people on a much more regular basis. This is a departure from my normal travel writing, so I hope that my readers will bear with me as I digress a bit.
In a previous chapter of my life, I gave monthly talks that, amongst other things, embraced concepts of transformation and empowerment. I would say to my audience, “Why would the Universe want to grant you all of those wishes, dreams, and gifts that you have come to expect if you forget to do something as simple as remembering to say thank you for those things? If you aren’t displaying any gratitude for what you have already received, why should the Universe continue to provide? It’s a reciprocal process!”
I have recently been tweeting this very thing to my readers on Twitter at @deborahharmes — and my online friend in London, the astrologer Shelley Von Strunckel, has been spreading the word to her readers as well after I mentioned Gratitude Lists to her.
When I was a practicing therapist, list-writing was one of the many ‘focusing tools’ that I used to employ with my clients. I saw major transformations occur in people’s lives when they began to implement this tool. The act of writing down goals or dreams caused a shift in their consciousness which put the inactive gears of their ‘manifestation engine’ into a state of movement. And when those people were open-minded and open-hearted, an even faster transformation occurred.
I have long held a bit of wrinkle-nosed disregard for the tradition of writing down New Year’s resolutions. This is a personal opinion, but I believe that it sets you up for failure and disappointment because those lists are regarded as a ‘must do’ thing that is not necessarily created with the right set of motivational factors. In many cases, there is social, familial, or peer pressure to write down what someone ELSE wants you to be or do in the coming year.
A far more gentle method of transformation is a Gratitude List. The very act of saying thank you in written form sets up a dialogue with the Universe that is softer and more authentic. In an act of self-reflection that doesn’t necessarily need to take a very long period of time, you release the need to create an artificial set of expectations/resolutions. Instead, you quietly, softly, purposefully write down a list of the things that you are thankful for.
This may seem silly or simplistic to some people, but trust me, it does improve your life. It removes or reduces the competitive edginess of resolutions, moves you beyond the negativity of complaining, and allows you to open your heart and mind to even more goodness and more blessings. In a very personal choice, I create these gratitude lists more frequently and keep the spirit of joyfulness more alive and fresh by this method.
Every month on the New Moon, I quietly sit for a few minutes and make a short list of the things that I am grateful for which have happened during the last 30 or 31 days. My husband does the same thing and then we read them aloud to one another. We repeat this in a slightly longer version at the end of the year as we sum up the events of the previous 12 months. And what I have noticed is that these episodes of list-making help to keep our attention tuned to the many types of goodness that flow into our lives from all sorts of sources.
In my own life, I am grateful for more than 12 months of travel and the amazing variety of people we have met in various countries, wonderful new career opportunities, the excellent medical care that I have received in 3 different countries that allowed potentially scary medical problems to be diffused rather quickly, the blessing (scary though it may have been at the time!) of being on-the-spot not once but twice when a fire in someone’s home could have turned into a life-altering disaster, and many other events and items that are personal and private. Your own list will reflect your own ideas of what was important along the way.
As we prepare to close out the year 2011, perhaps Gratitude Lists are an idea that you can embrace — an idea which will assist you in your own personal transformation.
Many blessings to all of you in the year ahead!
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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