Today I was pondering about how we’re often caught up in the difficulties or problems of our life, chasing the next thing that we think’s going to make us happy or be the answer to all our prayers. We’re caught up in a future that hasn’t happened or recreating the same past we’ve left behind. Then I caught myself feeling conditional gratitude – in the sense that “I’m grateful for…but”. So for example, I’m grateful for my car but I really wish I had a new one. My flat is ok but I’d prefer to have a garden. I love my partner but I wish they didn’t leave their clothes lying on the floor…
As I love being outside in nature I decided to walk around where I am right now and connect with gratitude for what is, right here, right now. It’s easy to put off feeling grateful until we’ve got exactly what it is we think we want and to discount anything less and to make up a picture of how it’ll be better when….So I can look at where I live and decide it’s too noisy, too near the road, I’d like a garden etc which really only makes me feel lacking, wistful, unable to truly see or appreciate what I already have, which takes me out of where I am in other areas of my life also and yet now is all there really is. Or I can appreciate that I have a considerate, friendly neighbour, I live in an area where there are numerous walks I can go on, I’m surrounded by beautiful scenery, I have a landlord who’s happy for me to decorate however I like. It’s up to me to choose where I put my attention.
So I decided that walking around my neighbourhood and feeling gratitude for what is here would be an excellent idea!
Gratitude walking is a combination of walking meditation/mindfulness/gratitude and experiencing and creating new perceptions and choices. What we feel and think colours how we experience our world and the more we repeat something the more ingrained it becomes so it makes sense to create habits and patterns that are beneficial. My first gratitude walk was today and I focused on really looking at what’s around me and making a conscious note of appreciation to myself. It was great fun and I decided to also open it up on a weekly basis to anyone in the neighbourhood who’d be interested.