Today I caught myself feeling really grateful for the small black plastic trashcan in my bathroom. This made me smile. I have never before been so mindful of the good in my life as to appreciate a trashcan. To a part of me this felt like a sort of graduation. I have been actively working on my ability to feel appreciative for everything that I am allowed to have and experience. I feel strongly called to take nothing and no one for granted. I want to fully see and feel all that has taken shape in my life. I call this the purposeful appreciation practice. Purposeful Appreciation Practice (or more affectionately called The Bliss Bubble Technique 🙂 involves making time to experience and embody appreciation for all the things and beings that positively impact a comfortable and enjoyable life experience, no matter how small the impact may be. You may ask: well, how do I know if something makes a positive impact. Here are the questions I use to help me with this:
Does this allow me to do or be something I enjoy?
Does this simplify my life in any way?
Does this facilitate something meaningful to me?
That this help or support me in any way?
Does this contribute to my well-being in any way?
This act of purposefully scanning our lives for things that we enjoy having is an empowering and reassuring practice. Observing and acknowledging the presence of what works well in our lives infuses us with the realization that we are already taken care of, provided for and met by life with so much of what we need. There are times when we get scared or worried about something and we lose perspective of our overall situation. This practice balances our mind and creates a tangible reassurance, based on what is often observable. Most importantly this practice allows us to SHIFT FOCUS. When we are overwhelmed by some aspect of our lives we tend to become obsessed with it. We can’t think clearly anymore because we cannot see anything else. Choosing to look for and cultivate appreciation relaxes our bodies, our minds and our nervous system and allows us to reset ourselves.
There are two levels you can do this on: internal and external.
Look at what is around you. Choose to acknowledge things that are contributing to your joy and comfort. What around you makes you smile? What around you pleases your eye? What around you feels comfortable? What around you feels safe? Some of us are sometimes challenged to see the good in our lives. If we have been suffering, our pain can blind us to the good that is there. You can visually scan your surroundings or think about the things you know you have but are not immediately in front of you: your car, your job, your sky set in the closet. When I do this I take each item at a time and imagine what my life would be without it. There are times after an appreciation session when I decide to donate items that I notice bring me no joy and are simply clutter. There are times when after 20 minutes of appreciation I start crying realizing how much I have been given and how much I have to enjoy.
If you have been feeling down for a while and things have been chaotic in your life you may have a home that is messy and you may be challenged to see the beauty and the joy of the things around you. in that case I suggest going for a walk in nature: a park, the beach/lake or forest. Many times observing the blue sky and a bird flying can completely change your perspective. Whatever your circumstance is and wherever you may find yourself there will be something to find appreciation for. Keep seeking until you find it.
Consider doing the same with what is inside of you. Take a moment and scan all of the mechanics that are happening inside of you: physical, emotional, spiritual. Are you able to breathe, digest, sense, think, feel? Our heart beats for us, our blood travels throughout our body nurturing it and cleaning it. Our emotions arise and make themselves known to us. Our mind is always available to help us understand and find solutions. Our subconscious works and communicates with us through dreams and synchronicity. Loving humans were created to exist on this planet at the same time with us and be our companions in this life experience as friends, mentors, partners, children, neighbors. There is so much happening at the same time to allows us to be well.
See if you can really take in the layers and the richness our lives have been given in every moment. Notice how it feels to allow yourself to receive life’s bounty. How is your breathing when you notice what is good in your life? How does your body feel when you focus on what’s working in your life? Practice this mindfulness. Let is seep into every cell of your body. Acknowledge how loved you are!
Often True Appreciation Affirmations
Take a moment and read the statements below. Notice how often you may be taking some of these things for granted. Notice how it feels to pause and acknowledge these things without which our lives would be much much harder.
I acknowledge that I feel safe in this moment.
It feels great to breathe freely.
I appreciate being able to feel to my body.
I really enjoy having a home.
I am glad my heart beats for me without any effort of my own.
I enjoy every time I am able to rest.
I’m thankful that I am able to feel love.
Why is this practice important?
When we realize and acknowledge how much we have going for us it becomes a bit easier to tackle challenging times. It builds emotional resilience. When we take life and everything good for granted we will be pummeled by the smallest inconvenience. We often have so much going for us and yet we spend so little time enjoy it. When we make time to take in and appreciate the generous support that life offers us and we won’t be so demoralized by unavoidable and necessary challenges.