What are your daily gratitudes?
Expectations can be so difficult to live up to, if you expect everyday to be perfect, the merely good days can be a disappointment and how do you even enjoy the day as it is happening, if you refuse to enjoy it until the whole of the day has lived up to the expectation that you had at the beginning. By allowing a single unfortunate incident to turn an otherwise happy day into a failure, you give yourself over as hostage to events outside of your control.
Instead if you free yourself from expectations, you can allow the day to proceed as it wants, you can meditate, drink coffee and take a good walk, and more importantly enjoy, appreciate and be grateful for them as they happen. Then if an email arrives which contain bad news that needs immediate attention, you can deal with it with whatever action need to be taken without having to simultaneously cope with the loss of a perfect day, and if in your concentrated and undistracted state of mind, you deal with it easily and professionally, you even get to feel good about it, without your day being ruined by it being less than perfect. In fact it can make the day even better, you can feel more confident that you are a person who can deal with little problems without it knocking you off course and most of all you can feel gratitude for being capable, you get to turn a curse into a blessing.
This is only possible when you turn your attention from your expectations to where you can find gratitude. When you turn from the future which is what expectations are, your anticipation of the future, even if it is something only a few hours away, and instead focus on the moment you are in and what you are grateful for now, gratitude is the spotlight that brings you back to the moment, you get to turn every moment into a game which you keep on winning.
The best practice for the game is to build it into your routines, a few minutes everyday of deliberate practice, when you focus on the big picture or little things that you are grateful for in your life. It could be at the beginning of your daily walk, on the train commute or at dinner with your family before you eat, whichever daily part of your routine that you can build a new habit into. I personally like to have a short list of things I want to keep close to me and constantly remind myself of.
I am grateful for a good, long, deep and fulfilling life, that is full of love, that aligns with my values as a growing being of consciousness that has inherent purpose, meaning, worth and flow
I am grateful for the roof above my head that gives me shelter, safety, security, silence and comfort.
I am grateful for the food on my table that gives me pleasure and joy, that satisfies, sustains and helps me grow.
I am grateful for the source of my health and happiness, that is kind, wise and caring, for the sleep, meditation, and rest it gives me, it is the foundation of my life and empowers me in everything I do.
I am grateful for my friends and family, who allow me to love them, taught me how to love and whom make me felt loved.
I am grateful for presence with a state of grace, ease and joy.
This is a springboard for a rampage of gratitude (a term I stole from Jess lively, the lively show podcast) where you then literally rampage through as many things you are grateful for in a stream of consciousness, you can do this in your head or write it down, but the point is to prime the mind for being grateful, so that you can be grateful for things as they happen later in the day. This is a practise to develop the habit of using gratitude, not a box to tick and think you are done for the day.
I would certainly not recommend copying my starting list, it is probably only fully meaningful for me, I built it slowly overtime, adding in words that are important to me. The word flow, for example reminds me to build in flow activities into my life as well as the state I want to live my life in, flowing through events rather than efforting my way through them. The whole thing for me is about the Maslows pyramid of happiness, where the lower levels are to do with the things that we need for survival, shelter, food, health, however it has meaning for me as I know about Maslow teachings, and it naturally leads me into being grateful for the progress I am making on the higher levels. This is only really meaningful for me, and that is why I wrote the perfect daily gratitudes for me, which means only you can write your own gratitudes which have meaning and importance for you, and that brings you back to what you are grateful for in this moment.