We've all read the articles extolling myriad benefits of cultivating a grateful state of mind, and for good reason. Feelings of gratitude have a profound effect on how we see and move through the world.
The prescriptions these posts offer, however, can be laughably trite.
Gratitude ain't easy.
Our lizard brain, the oldest and, therefore, most powerful system in the cognitive realm, is in charge of scanning our surroundings for potential threat and adversity. This is how most of us, whether we like it or not, instinctively interact with our environment. It's our set point.
On top of that, we're so damn forgetful. We're less likely to remember the fleeting moments of grace and fortune, especially when our minds are bench-pressing the weight of our tiny worlds.
Awhile ago, I bought this book, and I'm grateful I did.
Emmons reminds us that gratitude is a garden we tend, a habit we must cultivate if we really want to experience the paradigm shift that this inner work has to offer. There's no pill or quick fix. And this dude's a scientist with real research and stuff.
The most difficult and potentially liberating work is identifying the upside in life's most soul-twisting challenges. That kind of alchemy may require some zen-like mastery.
Like any higher call or great work, resistance will nip at your heels...
so get yourself some new kicks and be grateful for them.
Practical Wisdom for the Creative Journey
Joel Ripka is a Brooklyn-based actor with 20 years and over 30 professional stage credits from off-Broadway to regional theaters that span the country. He is a blog author and writes about a life lived creatively and in close connection with our deepest expressions of consciousness. He's committed to joy, teaching, sharing, and uniting. He inspires people to do cool things and live intentionally. He is a musician (guitar, piano) singer and also a skilled teacher and writer.