Yesterday was my birthday, the third one that I have spent here in Italy, time really is whizzing by! I started the day with a fluffy cappuccino by the sea at Enzo’s bar, where I was greeted with hugs and kisses and lots of auguri’s (good wishes). It was such a fizzy start to what unfolded into a lovely day. It is still quite incredible to me how much love I receive here in my home away from home on a daily basis.
And I am thankful.
I’ve had a gratitude practice for a long time but last year I realised that one of the reasons I had a gratitude practice was because I felt like I was ‘supposed’ to have a gratitude practice. And the energy between me and what I was grateful for, was a bit ‘off’. So I explored that ‘off’ feeling and discovered several interesting things, which showed me that I was doing gratitudes because:
- Spiritual / self aware people are supposed to be grateful.
- The more gratitude you express, the more you will have to be grateful for.
- A part of me was still rooted in lack, so gratitudes were a covert way of asking for abundance from the Universe / Life.
- The not good enough part of me felt like I had to doff my cap to the Universe / Life if I was going to receive some of the ‘good stuff’. And that was connected to an old ancestral story of being an Irish tenant farmer to an English landlord. There was a kind of submissiveness at play.
Long story short, I was being grateful for all the wrong reasons and it didn’t feel good in my body. So I stopped with the gratitudes.
And then something interesting happened. I found myself saying ‘thank you’ and meaning it! Whether it was when I saw something beautiful in nature while out walking, something that made me smile, or a gorgeous moment of synchronicity that made me feel giddy, I stopped and said ‘thank you’. Each moment became an opportunity for me to say to the Universe / Life; “I saw what you did there, it was very cool, and thank you.” And as a result something shifted subtly but profoundly in my body. With my gratitudes I was still stuck in that Judeo-Christian model of ‘god’ being out there looking down on you, and if you were lucky bestowing benevolence. With ‘thank you’ the experience became infinitely more grounded and a whole lot more fun. Instead of doffing my cap to the Universe, I gave her a little wink and a smile instead.
I am fully aware that ‘I am grateful’ and ‘thank you’ are merely words. But our words connect us to our feelings and to our state of mind. And sometimes in changing our language we change our feelings, our thoughts, and in time our experience of life.
So if gratitudes aren’t working for you I invite you to try out thank you or a different word of phrase that feels good in your body and let me know how you get on!
In other news, on Monday I go to Ireland for 10 days. It will be my first time back since moving to Italy. I’m really looking forward to seeing my family and a little nervous about stepping out of the slow and tranquil pace of mountain life, but I know it is time. When I get back I have some lovely new courses and offerings to share with you. I look forward to telling you about them in the months ahead.
Sending much love from the mountain.