During a recent conference, a lovely and enthusiastic woman approached me, waving a mint colored note card. “I’ve been practicing the thankfulness exercise from your Gratitude Workshop three weeks ago, AND I’VE ALREADY LOST ELEVEN POUNDS!”
I recognized the card as one I’d shared in a recent workshop so attendees could write a thank you note “in advance.” The goal of the exercise had nothing (specifically) to do with weight, but everything (specifically) to do with attitude. By changing our attitude—our energetic relationship—toward something, we change the outcome. Since I’ve found gratitude to be the most impressive Fast-Pass to observable improvement, my instructions were to pen a note of thanks about some desired life situation upgrade, as if it already had happened. Bolstered with a new directional energy, the follow-up homework was to read and feel the words, morning and evening, until the feeling became the seeing.
Apparently, this woman is earning an A+ in homework! And her good news thrilled me: not because it matters how much anyone weighs, but because she physically experienced the power of gratitude (and found the entryway to non-duality, but that’s for another blog).
The first thing I noticed about gratitude (after I finally started paying attention) is that it helps us locate true joy—the ineffable feeling that vibrates so far and deep, in a very knowing sort of way. During my classes, when I invite folks to practice my favorite 3-minute thankfulness hack (instructions are in the March 21st blog below, 6th paragraph), I can’t help but peek, witnessing their mouths curve upward en masse. Basking in gratitude just makes people smile.
The second big hoo-ha about finding our way to focused gratitude is that it plops us right in the middle of this present moment (which is all there ever was, anyway), and keeps us there by our attention to it. Very few of us are right here, right now, but when we “be gratitude,” it’s impossible to hurt over some history, or worry over some tomorrow (like what the scale might report).
The world will not tell us that being thankful (for our healthiest body ever) can help shed pounds, and gratitude isn’t typically marketed as a weight-loss strategy, but by being in the “now-ness” of gratitude, we sidestep assumptions/predictions/social contracts/rules/whatever we’ve unconsciously adopted, and carry around with us like extra pounds. Surely, we of this culture have all heard (and perhaps internalized?) the following aphorisms:
- “No pain, no gain.”
- “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”
- “Everything delicious is fattening.”
- “After the feast comes the reckoning.”
- “The pain of today is the victory of tomorrow.”
But, what if, after all the detoxing, calorie-counting, scale provocations, and self-denial, we discover that writing notes of gratitude to our Selves and our cells could ease our bodies back to where they wanted to be naturally?
This is exactly, it seems, what my new friend recognized. “The cravings are gone,” she announced. “They just disappeared!” (AKA being in gratitude-induced non-duality...really, more on that soon!)
(This Thank You Note practice is Exercise 16 in my book, Already Here: the matter of Love.)