Gratitude and Meditation: The Dynamic Duo
I am grateful for many things – especially over this last month. Although I love to dwell in gratitude, I have not felt that I have committed to a regular gratitude practice yet.
But today I realized something: my gratitude and meditation practice don’t have to be traditional.
Gratitude and Meditation Practice: Journaling and Stillness
Have you ever kept a gratitude journal?
A lot of people talk about gratitude in the context of journaling. You must sit still in meditation, then write out some things in your life that you’re grateful for.
I used to sit in guided meditation at the yoga studio I went to over 20 years ago. At that time, I loved it, and I feel that I need that again. However, I have not quite made a personal practice of sitting still in silence yet.
Gratitude and Meditation YOUR Style
We are currently traveling in Turkey. For this holiday week we are visiting my mother-in-law at her summer home off the coast of the Dardenelles.
Today as I was walking through the countryside to burn off the many calories of fresh food I have been consuming, I realized that gratitude and meditation do not always have to be done in a prescribed way.
During that walk I listened to Brene Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us. She has been doing a series with her sisters to celebrate the anniversary of The Gifts of Imperfection. If you have not read this book before, I highly recommend it, and the related resources on her website.
In this episode, the discussion of gratitude and journaling came up, which got me thinking.
Photography as a gratitude practice
As I was on my walk taking pictures of the sunflowers I love so much, I realized that much of my gratitude practice lies in photography.
I often take pictures of things I love, or the moments that are special to me. I don’t always share those with the world, but I don’t need to share them all because they are mine.
Photography as a meditation practice
Photography has also been a type of meditation for me. I discovered this a few years ago with night photography. I have to really be at one with the subject, the camera and the lighting as I focus on the technical decisions to create my image.
Here are a few images from my meditation and gratitude practice this morning. I capture these images so I can refer back to them often.
Different Ways to Meditate and Experience Gratitude
Meditation and gratitude don’t have to be found in vocations or art practices.
I also find myself meditating on gratitude when I walk and observe nature. I do this when I walk our rescue dog, Fudge. Or when I’m in Turkey and walk through Greek ruins, or drive through a village where time stands still.
We can find gratitude, meditation and inspiration anywhere.
Don’t beat yourself up if your gratitude or meditation practice does not look like something that the internet dictates to you.
Finding Your Practice
If you are struggling to identify ways to bring a unique gratitude and meditation practice into your life, consider:
- Which parts of your life do you wish you had more time for?
- When do you find yourself ‘in the zone’? (Hint: time will pass quickly)
- When are the times in your life when you can go quiet, go inward?
If you have a hobby or interest, you might find gratitude and stillness in it.
If you are a parent or you have a pet, you might find these moments with your little person or fur baby.
If you walk or move outdoors regularly (or even occasionally) you might feel appreciation for your surroundings.
Find these moments and allow yourself to linger there. This is a gratitude and meditation practice. You’re doing it!