The decision to practice joy, positivity, and gratitude is by far one of the greatest decisions you can make in your lifetime.
I understand if positivity doesn’t come easily for you because it doesn’t come naturally to my inborn Virgo character. There’s a tendency to be critical of self and others. To see the glass as half empty instead of half full. To strive for perfection and thus notice errors—even the tiny ones. There’s the urge to correct everything and everyone in sight.
Fortunately, we are not bound by our astrology or anything else for that matter. In my own life, I’ve found that it simply comes down to making a decision, once and for all and in every moment, to choose joy, happiness, and positivity. Happiness doesn’t depend upon external circumstances. It depends on how you choose to perceive whatever arises in your day-to-day life. Life is not always rosy, but whatever happens, you can strive to always be well within.
Practicing joy and gratitude
Such an attitude shift is not necessarily a cakewalk. It requires practice, patience, and repetition. Some people are born warm, fuzzy, and bright. The rest of us have to make a determined effort to get there, but the rewards are great and the path can be one of joyful diligence rather than struggle. Just like darkness cannot exist where there is light, when you think positively, negativity automatically dissolves. Thus, by practicing positivity habitually, joy will spontaneously grow your life.
Gratitude is one aspect of positivity that can be practiced any time, any place. To make it a habit, just spend 5 minutes each morning or evening reflecting upon and appreciating all the gifts in your life. Deeply feel a sense of gratitude, let it permeate your being and shine out. Then whenever a negative thought arises during the day replace it with a ray of gratitude. Make a commitment to practice this daily for a month and you will be well on your way to mastering this self-transforming art.
Remember, it’s a ‘practice,’ which means none of us are perfect quite yet. Give yourself space for joy and gratitude to slowly buildup and negativity to gradually decline. Negativity will indeed pop up from time to time. When it does, just gently move your mind to gratitude without indulging in self-recrimination. If this crusty Virgo can find more joy in life, there’s no question that you can too!
My 100 rays of gratitude
Making a list of gratitudes—as many as you can think of—is a wonderful way to jump start the process of establishing this new habit. Take some time and have fun creating your own list. I spent a few weeks gradually accumulating my list, which meant my mind was gravitating back to gratitude often during each day.
Here are my 100 rays of gratitude.
I’m deeply grateful for:
1. this precious lifetime.
2. my extraordinary spiritual teachers—their kindness, compassion, wisdom, tireless activity, and supreme vision.
3. receiving an abundance of authentic spiritual teachings.
4. my parents. It is only due to their kindness that I have the opportunity of this precious lifetime.
5. my amazing husband, who continues to shine and grow by leaps and bounds. He is a tremendous inspiration to me and a fabulous partner.
6. my siblings for all their loving care, kindness, and support.
7. all my friends from childhood until now.
8. free access to information via books, libraries, the internet, and other mediums. Not everyone has free access to information!
9. being television free for four years+.
10. friendly neighbors.
11. the chance to own my home for the first time in my life, a rare privilege indeed.
12. living in a non-toxic home.
13. being able to eat. So many are subject to famine, poverty, or illness, unable to nourish themselves adequately.
14. being able to use my hands.
15. clean water, the essence of life.
16. having found my true vocation as a writer.
17. learning to love and accept myself.
18. letting go of fear.
19. letting go of anger.
20. blogging friends.
21. being able to help and touch others through my blog.
22. the readers of my blog, thoughtful commentors, and those who share links to my articles via their social networks.
23. people who are dedicated to creating a better world like Beth Terry, Raam Dev, and Wandering Gaia.
24. the internet – creating a closer-knit global community and opportunities for transforming this world.
25. the natural beauty and aloha spirit of Hawai’i.
26. the ocean, the mountains, the sky.
27. alternative medicine—Naturopathy, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Tibetan Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Chiropractic, Homeopathy and others.
28. the full spectrum of colors.
29. natural healing—massage, all forms of bodywork, Qigong, Yoga, and countless others.
30. owning a computer.
31. all those who produce green options to plastic, petroleum, and other toxic products.
32. all those who have helped me on my path of healing.
33. all those who have been a thorn in my side, teaching me the most valuable of lessons.
34. the dynamic forces of nature: the elements of wind, fire, earth, water, and metal (or space).
35. the world of the senses—sights, sounds, sensations, smells, tastes.
36. the great writers, dreamers, activists, thinkers, spiritual leaders, and peacemakers of our time who inspire, challenge, and urge us to live meaningfully.
37. indoor plumbing
38. having a washing machine and the ability to wash my clothes in non-toxic laundry detergent without fabric softeners and bleach.
40. epsom salts baths.
41. the healing pond.
42. our deck.
43. lava rock.
44. medicinal plants.
45. our garden and greenhouse.
46. www.treehugger (dot) com
47. our galaxy, the planets and the stars.
49. the playfulness of whales and dolphins.
50. miracles – they happen all the time.
51. positive people.
52. this ever so patient body, incredibly strong and resilient, the vehicle for this lifetime of discovery.
53. homeopathic medicine.
54. environmental awareness, growing exponentially.
55. living in a warm climate.
56. all the health bloggers who share their stories and information far ahead of the constraints of Western medicine.
57. organic seeds.
59. mindfulness meditation for chronic pain.
60. Amygdala Retraining.
61. Dynamic Neural Retraining.
62. the sounds of nature.
63. health food stores.
64. farmers’ markets.
65. the U. S. Postal Service.
66. being highly sensitive for all that it’s taught me.
67. people who do not wear perfume, fragrance, and essential oils and those who do not use fragranced laundry products due to the health dangers of fragrance.
69. healthy, happy kittens, my favorite personal development coaches.
70. stress reduction strategies.
71. recycling centers.
72. online meditation courses.
73. time for personal retreat.
74. polar bears and sea turtles.
75. the seasons.
76. the Environmental Working Group.
77. everyone who is taking personal responsibility and reducing their oil use.
78. the low-oxalate diet.
79. organic farmers.
80. baking soda, the ultimate non-toxic all-around helper.
81. public libraries.
82. Emergency Medical Technicians.
83. recycling centers.
88. the beauty and symbolism of lotus flowers.
89. quiet and solitude.
90. the feminist movement.
91. bamboo and other sustainable resources.
93. pioneers, innovators, researchers who have the courage of their convictions in the face of resistance.
95. the forest.
96. the Buddha and his teachings.
98. the Dalai Lama.
99. the practices for cultivating love, joy, compassion, and equanimity.
100. meditation and teachings on the nature of mind.
101. knowing it all to be like a dream.
“Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they will do will not matter so much when you see it as a dream. The trick is to have positive intention during the dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality.” – Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in the book Life in Relation to Death
Please share your tips for practicing joy and gratitude.
Thank you for reading and sharing! If you enjoyed this article please subscribe for free updates by email. With love, Sandra