Welcome to week 3!
We’re moving on to a beautiful Gratitude Project today. But just in case you haven’t had a chance to share how you got on with last week’s gratitude exercise, here’s the week two discussion thread: Week Two Discussions.
Today we’re moving on to a mindfulness-based gratitude exercise that is a form of breathing meditation.
But before I take you there, I’d like to sort out one of the most common problems we create, when we’re making changes in our lives:
Are you trying too hard?
It’s the best way to make sure things don’t work for you!
The best way to let the Miracle Of Gratitude work for you is to go with the flow. Have a playful attidue, when you’re taking time out for your gratitude minutes or experimenting with the exercises.
The harder we try, the less likely we are to get the results we’re dreaming of.
Because ‘trying’ creates resistance, in your Monkey Mind, and even physical tension in your body. Our Monkey Mind reminds us of all the reasons why ‘this kind of stuff never worked before’ and tries to convince us that it won’t work this time. And, given that we tend to get what we focus on in life, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Also, it’s pretty hard to feel grateful for life, if we’re holding physical tension, clenching our teeth as we say our ‘thank yous’.
If you’re like me, running a ‘try, try, try again’ programme, you’ll find this week’s gratitude project helps you to shift from ‘trying’ to ‘being’. And that can bring a huge sense of relief.
Let go of trying to ‘do’ or ‘feel’ gratitude – and allow yourself to melt into ‘being’ gratitude.
You’ll be amazed by the shift.
A tip-off about this week’s project: let go of your expectations
Meditation takes us into a different state of mind from anything that we do in our ‘thinking time’ or activities. It helps us to connect with wisdom, Truth, inner stillness and more. By consciously choosing to feel gratitude whilst setting our intention to be in that meditative state, we can amplify the effects, taking the experience to the next level.
And the best thing about this is that the less hard you try, the more effective the results!
One of the things about breathing – and breathing meditations – is that we can fall into the trap of trying too hard.
We have these weird expectations that line up to knock our confidence when we hear the word ‘meditation’ or ‘mindfulness’. Either we’re supposed to wander around in tent-dresses and sandals, or shave our heads, or turn our legs into pretzels, or magically quieten that pesky Monkey Mind, or suddenly achieve zen-like states at the flick of a switch.
Yet for this mindful breathing Gratitude Project, all you need to do is ever-so-gently allow your awareness – your focus – to rest on your breathing. That’s it.
In a world where multi-tasking and thinking seventeen things at once is such a highly-prized skillset, why can it feel so hard to do just one thing?
Because we’re used to trying, trying, trying, instead of allowing ourselves a few moments to rest and ‘be’.
If you find you end up trying too hard with this week’s project, here’s an article that I originally wrote for the 28 Day Meditation Challenge book and course, which explains why we try too hard with meditation (or pretty much anything else we do!) and what you can do about it:
Are You Trying Too Hard To Meditate?
In fact, you can apply this to most of the experiences we have in life…
I really hope you’re enjoying your week six Gratitude Project. If you have a spare moment, how about popping by The Miracle Of Gratitude’s Facebook Page to let people know how you’re getting on and perhaps inspire a few others to follow your example and discover how gratitude can change your life?
Week 3 Gratitude Project & Useful Links
Mindful Breathing – With Gratitude
Here’s a transcript of the meditation:
The Gratitude Breath Meditation
Start by sitting with your back fairly straight. Imagine a thread pulling through the crown of your head, gently lengthening your spine, allowing a space to form between each vetebra. You’re not looking for ramrod straight; you’re looking for gentle, natural curves, with a relaxed stretch. And as that thread draws up through the crown of your head, gently lengthening the lumbar spine, all the way up to the thoracic spine, and the neck… tucking the chin under slightly, to elongate the back of the neck and release any tension… Then we’ll start with three deep sighing breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, with an ‘ahh’ sound.
3 sighing breaths.
Feeling the tension melting away…
For the next few moments, I’d like you just to let your awareness – focus – your attention – rest on your breathing; accepting your breathing and not trying to change it in any way…
And if your mind wanders, how about giving it a job? Bringing your awareness back to your breath… and this time, as you breathe in, consciously choosing to think: Thank you for my life-giving breath; and as you breathe out: Thank you for my life-giving breath…
And for the next few moments, I invite you to really connect with the organs and the muscles and other bits and bobs in the body that allow you to breathe; and as you breathe in and out, saying a silent ‘thank you’ to your diaphragm… to your lungs… all of the muscles and the tendons… and everything else that allows you to breathe… whether breathing is effortless for you… or whether sometimes it’s more of a challenge… Thank you diaphragm… Thank you lungs… Thank you body… Thank you breath…
And allow that sense of gratitude to grow… as your breath fills your body with life-giving energy… and the out-breath carries away the old by-products and toxins… allow that thank you to flow through every oxygenated cell in your body…
And when you’re ready… it’s time to release today’s practice… making sure your feet are flat on the ground, imagine you’re growing roots from the soles of your feet, deep into the earth… and these roots are connecting you with the earth beneath you… breathing in from the earth… breathing out into the earth… and you might see those roots; you might feel them physically; you might even hear them as they grow… and when you have a strong sense of those roots, anchoring you into the earth, take a deep sighing breath… a little stretch, keeping your eyes gently closed… rubbing the palms of your hands together, creating some warmth… and when you can feel that warmth, cupping that warmth over your gently closed eyes… opening your eyes behind those hands and gently spreading your fingers, to let the light in, bit by bit… rubbing your face… a good stretch and a good yawn! Thank you… That’s your “Thank you breath” meditation. I wish you a wonderful day!
When you have had a chance to play with the week three Gratitude Project, please remember to pop by the forum and share your experiences: Week 3 Discussion Thread