I am grateful for having found Make Miracles in Forty Days: Turning What You Have Into What You Want by Melody Beattie.
It outlines a simple practice: Write a daily gratitude list which includes situations, experiences and emotions you have the most difficulty finding gratitude for. And if you want, find a partner to share this with.
The format is Today, I am grateful for…. which is really a question. How would it be to be thankful for….?
This is a variation of the traditional practice found in many traditions of thankfulness for everything that happens, whether we judge it as good or bad. What this variation highlights, and what I find especially helpful, is specificity. When I write the list, I find specific examples of what to be thankful for, including that which I don’t (yet) feel thankful for.
The idea is simple as well. When I write only what it’s easy for me to find gratitude for, I come from and reinforce my habitual views of right and wrong, good and bad, and who am and am not. When I feel stuck in life, I find that this is often exactly where and how I am stuck.
In contrast, when I include everything, and especially that which I have trouble finding gratitude for, I notice a softening and a gentle curiosity and questioning of these views. There is a shift into acceptance and even appreciation for more of who I am, and find myself gently unsticking in ways I didn’t expect.
There are more details on Crossroads Dispatches where I first heard about it and found my forty day partner. I’ll report more on my experiences later.