HEALTH AND WELLNESS: THE PRACTICE OF GRATITUDE
WORDS: KIMORA BROCK
Before I get into today’s topic, I want to revisit something in my introduction post that could have been misread. I did not intend to blame anyone for my sadness and depression. After reading a book for acting class called "Dreams into Action" by Milton Katsellas, my perception on the entire incident changed. Katsellas writes:
“Nothing destroys people but themselves. You’ve got to believe that...[Your life] is your script, your movie. When you blame others, you’re allowing other writers to change your best lines, alter scenes in your masterpiece...the most pernicious deterrent to advancement is the victim mentality. When you blame, you sign off the rights to your life. Others are running your show and you are powerless to stop them.”
I believe this wholeheartedly and want to suggest that the assault was a catalyst to my life of self love and compassion. Which brings me to today’s topic of gratitude.
I am very grateful and thankful for the experience. I know many people could be thinking “What?! How can you be grateful for an experience that made you have thoughts of ending your life???”
My experience ultimately brought forth discoveries about myself and the people I was surrounding myself with. They say that the more experiences you have, the more you can connect to people. And in my opinion, connecting to people is pretty much one of the only reasons why we're here on earth: it's a basic human need. I also learned to identify and confront the negative thoughts in my head. Author Brian Tracy has said, “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” I have personally found this to be true, as it takes just as much effort to be negative as it does to be to be positive. And finally, I began to learn my self worth, that I am, in fact, enough, and that I have limitless potential to do whatever it is that I set my mind to.
During my senior year at Wesleyan, my first semester of track practice, bio requirements, "In the Heights" rehearsals, and work study dominated my life. I was reminded then of how easily your peace of mind and sense of self can disappear when you don’t have time for yourself.
I remember perusing the Wesleying blog and finding out about a mindfulness class that met once a week. I decided that despite the fact that I had so much to do already, I would join this class and schedule in some personal time for myself. Although I felt so silly scheduling in time for me to reflect in this group setting, it was one of the best decisions I made all year. The class was taught by Rabbi Teva and two yoga instructors. We started every class by meditating and then discussing last week's assignment, before entering into a yoga flow and lesson on ways to move forward with our practice. The homework for the first session was to make a list of all the things you’re grateful for during your day. Little did I know, but just by doing this simple activity every night before I went to bed, my life would change drastically.
It was in this class that I determined that wellness is a mindset. When you are thinking positive thoughts you are moving yourself toward becoming a positive person. The same is true for negativity and toxic thoughts. Practicing gratitude is truly the easiest way to get out of a negative mindset and start focusing on the abundance of good things already happening in your life. I believe the purpose of this activity is to get you to start recognizing the things you’re grateful for and begin showing appreciation for these good things when they happen. My homework for you this week is to incorporate this simple practice into your life and watch the magic work! It continues to do wonders for me.
Love and light,