I have taken up my all-inclusive gratitude practice again, and it feels good. In a sense, it feels like coming home.
A conventional gratitude practice is – I assume – more accessible to more people, and it can be very helpful. It helps us find love and a sense of abundance. And yet, it also has a limitation, as all practices do. When I filter and separate out what I am grateful for from the rest of my life, I reinforce my ideas of what’s good and bad, and what I can or should be grateful for. It reinforces a split perception of the world.
An all-inclusive gratitude practice also opens up for love and a sense of abundance. In addition, it helps me soften and question my habitual ideas of good and bad, desirable and undesirable, fortunate and unfortunate. It opens me up for gratitude for all of it, and finding the gifts in it. It invites me to meet all that is with love, and perhaps notice it’s all already love.
An all-inclusive gratitude practice will also flush out “what’s left” in me. It helps me see the fears, hopes and beliefs I have about life. I can include these too in the gratitude list, and I can meet it with love and gently explore it in inquiry.
As with any all-inclusive practices or views, it opens up another “layer” for in how we perceive the world. I’ll still – hopefully – be a good steward of my own life. I’ll still aim at acting with kindness to myself, others and the world. I’ll still be engaged. Although now from a slightly different place.
To put it metaphorically, the layer of my human self is much the same. There is still a human self here living as best as he can, and from kindness and clarity when possible. And there is another layer here, a layer that softens the split perception and recognizes all as already grace and love, and perhaps even Spirit.
An example of a conventional gratitude list:
I am grateful for food, clothing and shelter. I am grateful for family and friends. I am grateful for living in a country in peace. I am grateful for being able to rest.
And an all-inclusive gratitude list:
I am grateful for food, clothing and shelter. I am grateful for family and friends. I am grateful for living in a country in peace. I am grateful for being able to rest. I am grateful for brain fog. I am grateful for fatigue. I am grateful for fears about the future. I am grateful for discomfort. I am grateful for the contraction in my throat. I am grateful for wishing I was further ahead.
These lists often include more specific items too.