Sometimes when we wake up in the morning, our alarm screaming at us, and responsibility smacking us in the face… it seems like we’re immediately being forced to run a hundred-meter hurdle race.

Flannelette pyjamas flailing in the wind as we rush around our busy morning to get to work on time; get the kids on the bus, maybe squeeze in some breakfast.

It’s easy to forget to take a minute, to look around and realise that we have been given the gift of another wonderful day.

Before we know it, we’re cleaning the dinner dishes, paying the bills, brushing our teeth and closing our eyes to wake up to the race all over again.

Do you remember begging your parents to let you go on the merry-go-round when you were a kid?

Every time you came back to the point where they were standing, you’d wave like a maniac.

Shouldn’t we be trying our best, to enjoy this little ride of life?

Feeling gratitude dissolves the polarities of fear and need – because gratitude perfectly expresses the natural abundance that is already ours.

It’s impossible to get caught up in blind desires, when you’re taking the time to be thankful for having enough. By energetically feeling gratitude, we open ourselves to the Yin wisdom of not striving. We’re able to joyously accept all of what life offers, because we can directly experience how life comes into being through the perspective that we choose.

Gratitude Practice

What if we set our alarms five minutes earlier, (don’t bail on me here!) and with that time, kept our eyes closed and listed ten things in our heads (pretending we’re still asleep!) that we’re grateful for?

It’s an amazing way to start any day. It helps the mind to focus on what we do have instead of what we are lacking. It helps creativity flow, which in turn can help with creative solutions to a range of problems we face on a daily basis.

When I first started this, I thought 10 were a lot of things to list, but our minds are incredible and before I knew it, I couldn’t stop at 10. My heart swelled with wonder, and my days became easier and easier.

I’ll help by sharing my 10 for today:

  1. The air in my lungs.
  2. The rain. I am mesmerised by rain.
  3. The food in my belly.
  4. Family.
  5. Friends.
  6. Music; how I love music!
  7. The money in my bank.
  8. The possibility for endless opportunities.
  9. Birds. There are so many birds around my home that sing all day.
  10. Life.

All of a sudden, my hundred-meter hurdle race is a walk in the park.

Letting gratitude wash over us like a warm shower releases all the knots and strained muscles we never realised were tense. It leaves us totally humbled so that even when our hands are empty, our hearts thrive and our minds become observant to the smallest joys. We can better appreciate the fullness of life.

Remember to always take a little bit of time for yourself, just to see where you’re at with life.

‘We must first draw from the well to nourish ourselves, and then there will be more then enough for us to help nourish others.’

If this struck a chord with you… it might be time for a Happy Buddha retreat, to nourish yourself and get back in touch with the wonders of life. Also have a read of this article on more practices to cultivate gratitude and balance everyday!

Co-written with the help of Lauren Eshman

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2015… but we’ve added to it!