July has always quite naturally been my absolute favorite month. Until I started dreading turning 30 around age 25. Then it turned into a stressful month. What am I going to change? Will anyone have time to spend with me on my birthday? What have I accomplished since last year? I still haven't written that book that I promised myself I would write when I was 18! Will I ever find true love, get married, buy a house and have a picture perfect family? The list of things "to do" and "to accomplish" just kept growing and hardly anything was getting crossed off. But this year something quite different happened. GRATITUDE.
When I was going through a rough time a friend of mine told me that she had joined a gratitude group and that each day they would write down all the things they were grateful for. This friend was very optimistic, peaceful, loving, was extremely healthy (beautiful skin!) and always seemed like a glowing light followed her everywhere she went. On top of having an increasingly successful career, she was always doing things for others and took the time to listen and spend time with loved ones. She even had the time to to take care of herself! So taking head to her advice and seeing how this person had many things that I desperately wanted (peace, the freedom to do what she loved, and deep compassion for others and herself), I followed in her foot steps. I went out brought a gratitude journal and included writing a morning gratitude list in my morning spiritual practice which also includes meditation, energy stretches (and prayer!). I limit myself to just one page each morning otherwise I would be stuck pressuring myself to write absolutely everything that I was grateful for and then get stressed out about the whole ordeal. I also found setting boundaries can help creativity and in turn helps get things done. So. One small journal page each morning filled with a list of things that I am so grateful for made the world of difference. Soon I started seeing how absolutely lucky I am to have the smallest things (the opportunity to have a new day that I've never lived before full of possibilities, the ability to breath, to sleep in a warm bed, to have a hot shower, to have this computer to write on, and I know it sounds corny but even to hear the birds singing each morning outside of my window). I never noticed there were birds out of my window until I began the gratitude list and was first fighting to find something to write and then I heard the birds! All in all, each day I always wish I had another few pages to write what I am grateful for and each day I become more and more grateful to simply have a cup of really aromatic tea and these warm socks from Turkey my friend Casey bought back for me.
By the time my birthday month arrived I was really like a child that was on love overload. I spent time looking at all the great things that happened up to then and the people and experiences and realized that things were getting crossed off the list, that my dreams were slowly being realized and that I actually will write that book that I promised myself when I was 18! My relationships with people, myself and the planet have gotten so much deeper and I am very grateful for the month of July. My Birthday month! You can see a few photos from July to the right.
You are more then welcome to share a few things (or more!) that you are grateful for below.
with love & gratitude,