Morning Gratitude Meditation and Practice by Karen Mills Alston, Guide.
Simple steps to wake up refreshed and grateful to be alive. Gratitude is such a vital, rich way to meet the day. Every one of us has something to be grateful for, beginning with the fact that we awoke in the morning and have before us another day to express our potential!
Do you recall what your first thought was when you awoke this morning? Did you immediately begin reviewing your to-do list; your agenda of priorities that must be accomplished throughout the day? Or did you wake up refreshed and grateful to be alive, anticipating the infinite possibilities a new day offers you? Come to think of it, what level of awareness do you have about your habitual way of waking up and entering a new day?
Daily Morning Routine – Introducing a Gratitude Practice
Upon reflection, you will probably notice that from childhood to the present moment, you’ve consciously or unconsciously applied various methods for waking up that contribute to setting the tone of your day. For example, when I was a kid, my twin sister and I shared a bedroom. On the nightstand between our beds there sat an old-fashioned, metal alarm clock with a hammer that enthusiastically clanged a little bell, rudely commanding us to wake up. Long before the technology of a snooze button, volume control, or soothing music, this firehouse alarm catapulted us right out of bed, beginning our morning routine in a state of agitation and fluster.
For the longest time, I never understood why it seemed to take forever to feel good upon waking up in the morning. Fast-forwarding many years, by the time my husband john and I had our daughter lindsay—now an adult—I, fortunately, had attained a level of wisdom that guided me to wake her up in a way in which I would like to have been woken up as a child. Every morning began with a gentle kiss on her cheek as I whispered, “lindsay, it’s time to get up.” and if I had to repeat it again in 15 minutes, I did. For the most part, our mornings began unruffled and lovingly, establishing the feeling tone of our day in an energy of peace, connection, and joy as we left our home for the day’s errands.
Each of us gets to choose how we wake up each morning and set the tenor of our day. The importance of this choice cannot be overestimated, so one of the first things I ask a new client is, “how do you wake up in the morning and establish your day’s tone?”, followed by “have you observed how your first conscious thought upon waking impacts you?” the responses I receive provide deep insight into the overall, energetic undercurrent of a client’s life, along with what adjustments he or she can incorporate into the seemingly simple act of waking up; an action that has such a profound impact upon each moment of every day, ultimately accruing into the span of a lifetime.
Expressing Gratitude –
Gratitude is such a vital, rich way to meet the day. Every one of us has something to be grateful for, beginning with the fact that we awoke in the morning and have before us another day to express our potential, to evolve in consciousness, to offer acts of kindness to those who cross our path. Secondly, gratitude begets gratitude. The moment you mentally or verbally say “thank you,” it not only creates a positive feeling in your mind and body, it affirms within your awareness loving, supportive feelings for yourself and others. The sensation of gratitude can make us feel so good that we want to find even more ways to recreate this energy. And the good news is we can!
Applying this powerful and conscious practice of gratitude allows the feeling to overflow into every aspect of your life. As experience reveals, it is so easy to form the habit of automatically beginning the day reviewing a to-do list, or carrying over the disappointments of yesterday. Even the folks at Harvard agree that keeping a practice of gratitude is good for ones health. In the laboratory of direct life experience, it is proven that there is something metaphysically tangible about giving thanks that contribute towards a higher, deeper, more compassionate way of living.
Morning With Gratitude
A daily morning ritual of waking up in a consciousness of gratitude is something that can become organic to us by setting an intention and consciously focusing our attention on cultivating this empowering habit. It would not be a cliché to say that “practice makes perfect” on the journey of embodying gratitude as our way of engaging in our inner and outer worlds.
Each morning, even before opening your eyes and thinking your first thought, form the habit of mentally saying to yourself, “I am so thankful for this new day and….” then identify a few things for which you are grateful. For example, some of the things I say to myself include: “as I awake I give thanks for another opportunity to express life—my beating heart, the joy of moving into my day feeling and expressing what is within me.” each morning the list varies, but what remains the same is the overall sense of gratitude arising from my heart.
Deepen your practice of being grateful. As you rise in the morning, stay in this “attitude of gratitude” for at least ten minutes. What you are no longer doing is creating a “to do” list. You are (in these few moments) establishing the tone for the remainder of your day. Move into meditation, play beautiful music, keep your thoughts high. Whatever you do in these ten minutes, stay in this elevated place of gratitude. This practice simply begets more things for which to be grateful.
Morning Gratitude Meditation
Perhaps today, you woke up stuck, mad, upset at someone or something and you don’t feel like being grateful. Take a breath. Feel the stuckness, the anger, even the feeling of not wanting to be grateful. Now become mindful of what divine quality may “appear to be missing” in this particular moment—love, joy, abundance, peace, vitality, creativity, etc. Feel that quality and radiate it throughout your body temple. Take another conscious breath. Now remember that you have the strength to shine especially when you don’t want to. This is your natural state of being. You are a body of power, strength, light, and infinite possibilities. Now you can choose to be grateful.
As you are moving through your day, be grateful just for the opportunity to be grateful. Put a smile on your face, let your light shine. As an extension of your morning “wake up” practice, at 12 noon, 3 pm, and 6 pm, stop, take a breath, and become grateful. Celebrate your life even before you have something to celebrate. Don’t wait! Give thanks now.
Positive Sayings Start Your Day
There are times in your life when you may feel that there are people, places, things, “forces” against you. Bring those individuals to mind individually or collectively. Thank them for showing up. Be grateful. They represent gifts in your life that (with practice) can allow you to become stronger, purposeful, powerful. Say to yourself: “I am more than this.” “everything is working together for my good.” “I no longer give my power away. I stand in excellence.” and then begin to feel the healing/revealing power of unconditional love. Love them right where they are. Be grateful for that!!
By, Karen Mills-Alston, Author Of 10 Principles For A Life Worth Living
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