Week One — Day One:
Improving Love right Away—
On June 20, 2015, I walked half a block down my street in Austin, Texas, to meet a woman I knew and admired and liked, but with whom I thought I had no “romantic” expectations. I had met her a mere three months before, in March. She had moved to Austin in February. Now in June it was a gentle summer’s day, and we were going to meet for a lunch and study session. I was writing a book on radical listening. She was smart and kind and I wanted her input. Her name was Carol Williams then.
It’s Carol Williams Elms now.
We thought we were meeting for an hour and a half. For lunch and a bit of her help on a book I was writing, the precursor to this one.
Twelve hours later, at one am, as I pried myself out the door, to walk the half block back to my home, we both were almost certain we’d met the future lifetime partner that had a day before seemed “almost impossible” to find. I’d written an “almost impossible goal” to find a fabulous woman within walking distance. And an “almost impossible goal” to find a lifetime partner at 70 years old. Carol had been praying for a life partner. And then… the miracle seemed to be happening.
And even with goals and prayers, I don’t think this “miracle” would have happened without our both being immersed in gratitude. Why?
We all thrive in gratitude…
On that day becoming night together, and since then, the practice of gratitude was a deeply embedded part of both our lives. Then, as now, I was writing in a “gratitude journal” at least twice, often three or four or five times, a day. Carol, on that miracle day, had a steady background prayer life, of which gratitude and thanks was a significant part. Now she has a gratitude journal, too. Will you soon get a gratitude journal? Only if you want transformation as deeply and easily as possible.
Don’t believe me, or anyone. Test drive gratitude right now.
Mini-game: Think of 3 things you are grateful for. Does something shift?
You might enjoy feeling where in your body this shifts seems to be.
How does this work?
The Power of Gratitude
Gratitude focuses our hearts and minds on what we like and love in life, what is going well in our life, what we are thankful for and want more of. Instead of wasting time and mental energy on worry or complaining, gratitude allows us to look at life from a peaceful and open heart. With an optimistic heart alert to what has gone well in the past, we are primed to be looking forward to more “good stuff” unfolding each day.
Modern research has shown what ancient wisdom has long suspected: the brain (and person) can be in either fear or gratitude.
But not both.
Carol and I were tuned in to what we appreciated about our lives. This made it far easier to tune into what we could appreciate in the other person. And then, twelve hours after I’d walked in the door, we reluctantly dragged ourselves apart amazed that we might well have found the “almost impossible.”
Dear reader, let’s jump into action.
Leap. Hop. Skip. Prance. Slippy slide. Have some fun.
Day One: Gratitude Exercise #2:
SAYING GRATITUDES ALOUD
If you have a partner, or a willing friend, ask them to join you.
Notice how you are feeling now.
Say aloud five things you are grateful for. Feel your heart as you say these five.
Then the other takes a turn.
Notice how you are feeling now.
Share with each other the shift this made, this simple speaking aloud and sharing of five gratitudes. (PS, you can say more if you wish)
If you are alone, jot down here a few reminder sentences on what shifted by saying five gratitudes aloud.
My notes on the differences I noticed….
Really, do it now. This is not a book to “just read” and imagine “doing it” later. This is not a book of “good ideas” for you to give your “screwed up” friends. This is a transformation manual for those who want even more amazing life.
Which is you, right?
You are either in a “pretty good” (or even “great”) relationship and you wouldn’t mind it being even better.
Two: You are in a funky relationship that cries out, begs and wants to be better.
Three: You are not yet in a relationship and you think that would be a pretty fine addition to your life. IF IT WAS A GREAT RELATIONSHIP.
Whichever category you are in, saying gratitudes helps clear your heart and your day and your life and your relationships.
Let’s try a more full bodied plunge into gratitude.
Gratitude #3: Standing Gratitudes.
Go to a window if there is one, or outdoors if that’s easy.
Say aloud two to twenty gratitudes.
Go slowly and hear your own voice.
If you have a friend or mate to join you, all the better.
Notice what difference this makes.
Don’t be shy.
Even in a tight ass office seeing someone stand and hearing them speak forth some gratitudes might be a catalyst for something nice.
Like find out.
Real learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference.
Learning is not taking in anything by rote.
Learning is a shift that makes a difference. And being aware of the shift.
That’s this book: a bunch of things to try out and notice what difference they make.
As I’ve said above, you can be grateful or you can be in fear. Can you feel a shift in you when you say gratitudes aloud?
And last game/ exercise for today, a practice that can change your life, because it is solid and demands reputation each day.
It can take less than a minute.
This could be something to start every day for the rest of your life.
Day One: Gratitude Exercise #4:
WRITE 5-13 GRATITUDES
Get a paper or a journal
START ON A FRESH AND EMPTY PAGE
A page grateful to be used for gratitudes
Write the day and the date.
Draw in a smily face, or something amusing.
Write five gratitudes or more.
If a lined journal, leave a line between each line of writing
Write big and slow and feel your hand moving, and see the letters forming.
Move around. Jump for joy a bit if the mood comes to you.
Or wiggle for relief.
Maybe go take a walk.
Before you go to bed, read over your gratitudes and write a few more.
Or say some before you go to bed to your mate if you have one.
Or say them aloud to “God” if you have one. Prayer as thanks, super important to one and all.
Or say some aloud to “Divine Energy” if you think/ feel that might be useful.
Gratitudes each day keep the doctor away.