I wanted to begin this post with “I’m grateful that I was not nominated for the ice bucket challenge.” But that’s no longer true; the ice bucket challenge hit me when the hype was almost over. No worries, you won’t find any “wet-t-shirt-ice-bucket-challenge-videos” with me, because I didn’t accept the challenge. I’m grateful that I said no, describing why not in a gentle way.

Then, I was nominated for the gratitude challenge. “Oh no”… was my first reaction. Then, I thought about the various approaches I have already made to write about gratitude. Several drafts, but not a single one was ever good enough for me to click the publish button, to ship my art. As Seth Godin says “without commitment, you will fail, because art unshipped isn’t art.”
That’s the simple truth.

I’m grateful that I accepted the gratitude nomination – on my way. This first blog post is my approach to tackling gratitude as a topic. I captured for one week all my gratitude moments. Then, I tried to cluster them, and I realized that there are so many things I’m grateful for in my life that this blog post can only be the beginning. Approaching gratitude as a topic, and exploring what gratitude means for me was and is a lovely, deep and eye-opening journey. I learned that there are prerequisites to feel gratitude in a conscious way: So far, I identified self-awareness, a positive mindset, a tendency to reflect deeply and to share experiences, the ability to look from different perspectives at situations, the ability to let go, to trust your heart and – the ability to love.

Today, let’s begin with two areas I’m grateful for in my life. More will follow within the next weeks.

Yoga practice

I’m grateful for my daily yoga practice. This practice is one of the biggest changes I made in my life this year. Yoga was always something I focused on when I had time. Reality was that I had no time, apart from my annual yoga retreat week. I had no time, because I didn’t make yoga a priority in my life. That changed when – at the last day of this year’s yoga retreat – my yoga teacher gave me his new yoga DVD course, ten modules, one hour each. Perfect, that was the trigger I needed. No excuses any longer. Now, I get up earlier, make time for my yoga practice. The practice gives me so much more than an hour it takes.  It’s such a beautiful gift; it helps me to align the body, mind and soul, every day. It helps me to focus on my breath, to get prepared for the challenges the day may bring. Since I’m doing this for four months now, my inner peace is growing, my body-mind-soul alignment is much better, I feel myself more in my center. The practice is always a journey to my center, by working with my body and my breath. Yoga helps me to calm down my mind, but also to refocus and to sharpen my mind. Side effects? Meditation is much easier for me. And I’m more productive as I was before I practiced yoga like this. And the love in my heart is growing, as a state of being. My body is even more flexible than before, which is just a mirror of my mind. I’m grateful that I was gifted with such a beautiful body that allows me to practice yoga like this. Namasté.

Changes, challenges and growth

I’m grateful to accept challenges, to drive change and transformation in my life – in order to grow. Challenges, problems, small and big disasters in all areas of my life are apparently situations I have to go through to grow. They are meant to teach me something, to get to the next level on my personal journey of growth. Finally, I’m grateful for the experiences I could make and for the lessons I could learn over the last couple of years – getting a deeper understanding of different situations and how to perceive those situations, getting a deeper understanding about others and – most important about myself. Processing some of the bigger challenges, I had to change my approach to deal with these situations. First of all I look inwards, what does this situation do with me, and why is that so? What are the patterns to be understood and to be considered next time? What do I need to do now for my mental health without hurting somebody else, even I was hurt in the first place. Approaching tough situations this way, and focusing on my spiritual practice changed a lot for me. It helped me not to create additional negative energy when situations were already difficult. I also learned to step back and to learn that situations are never as we see them. There is always another perspective, another dimension, something unknown included. Another reason to look inwards and to focus on re-establishing my inner peace. Whatever happens next, then I’m free to decide on my actions and reactions.

I’m grateful for the experiences I could make, and for the opportunities to learn and to grow. Growing is not an easy journey, but stagnation is always worse. The journey of accepting challenges, of driving transformation, of growing is worth the journey.

  • Take the way of courage
  • Take the way of truth
  • Take the way of non-violence
  • Take the way of love

 

“I wanted to feel, smell, hear and see, but not see with my eyes and my mind only. I wanted to see with CANTE ISTA – the eye of the heart.”

–Lame Deer, LAKOTA