Waking up with a grateful heart
Written by: Marissa Ranahan
I find so much beauty in the early morning hours. The way the sun hits the trees, the silence of the air, and the calmness before the workday create a stroke of serendipity. I don’t know about you, but from a young age I have always been a morning person. I find great serenity in greeting the sunrise and making the most of my waking hours. Each new day is a gift from God and a new opportunity to create our own unique experiences. If you’re choosing to live in the moment, everyday holds new blessings ready to be unfolded. How lucky are we to be given this privilege?
I believe waking up with a grateful heart sets a loving tone for the day. Part of being a mindfulness meditation teacher is cultivating a sense of gratitude within my students. Gratitude is one of the best practices to implement into your daily routine. The act of expressing gratitude is simple and unique for each individual. Anyone can choose to live a grateful life. Regardless of your current circumstances, there is always a way to find hidden pleasures. Gratitude is almost always dependent on your mindset. In order to recognize your graces, you must create a positive thinking pattern.
For those stuck in a negative thought process, the idea of waking up with gratitude can be a challenge. Finding gratitude is especially challenging when suffering from a mental illness. Those who have previously suffered (or are experiencing mental illness) are familiar with the fog it carries. Mental illness delights in a negative mindset and puts a damper on positive thinking. This pattern of thinking derails us from any small moments of gratitude. I’ve had many meditation students who suffered from mental illness. They always asked for simple ways to incorporate gratitude practices into their life.
My biggest piece of advice is to start small. If you’re waking up with a heavy heart, be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself space and time to wake up gently. Notice the small bits of beauty in your atmosphere. Notice the way the sunlight pours through the blinds. Notice the blessing in purely waking up to a new day. Start with the little things in the morning through creating a sense of awareness. You can simply thank your body for waking up and being able to function and start from that moment. Remind yourself that life isn’t a repeating pattern and now is the chance to open your heart to pure goodness. Remember: Life was not created as a place for constant suffering. Once you find beauty in your common routine, you will be able to see a wealth of gratitude unfold in front of you. This will start a continuous cycle of beginning your day mindfully.
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