At the beginning of this year I decided to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and consciously notice what I have in my life to be grateful for.
So throughout January I’ve been choosing joy and gratitude and daily posted pics and words on my Facebook page to show what I’m grateful for in my life, about others, the world… and myself.
I decided to count my blessings and not my woes and I have really noticed a shift in my feelings and thoughts throughout this month.
A joyful shift
In choosing to focus on what’s good and move my attention and energy away from what I might perceive as negative, or not ideal or not good enough, I feel a much greater sense of emotional balance, inner peace and contentment.
And yes, I feel much more positive and grateful for all that I do have – letting go of perceptions of lack.
I’d heartily recommend this practice. And I’m not going to stop at the end of January. I’ve got a “Joy Jar” going where I’m writing down something each day which has lifted my heart, made me feel happy, grateful or content or just something lovely I’ve noticed or heard.
This practise isn’t a Pollyanna-ish exercise in going around with blinkers on saying everything is fine and dandy with blind optimisim. No, it’s about choosing where to place my energy and attention. About choosing what energy and thoughts to feed.
I choose to feed gratitude and joy and contentment, rather than comparison and fear and anxiety.
So here’s what I was particularly grateful for each day in January 2016.
31 Days of January Joy
Day 1: Today I am grateful for … my home
It may be small and cosy (and I’ll be honest sometimes I wish it was bigger!) BUT I am grateful that I have a lovely, warm, comfortable place to call my own which I share with my beloved husband.
With so many people in this country who can’t afford to buy (and are struggling to rent or even don’t have a home at all); with so many displaced people in the world whose homes have been destroyed in conflicts and war; with so many homeless and hungry… who am I to feel anything but deep and sincere gratitude for the comfortable and loving home I have?
I choose to be grateful for my home.
Day 2: Today I am grateful for my yoga room
I know I am immensely lucky to have a space I dedicate to my yoga practice.
A room of my own.
My sacred space.
A place to move, sit, relax, meditate. Where the ideas flow. Where I can be still and undisturbed.
I am so grateful that I have the luxury of this blessed space.
Day 3: Today I am grateful for …January!
So many people say they hate this time of year but I love it.
I’ve just taken the Christmas decs down and am sitting with a cuppa meditating on the turn of the year. The sense of excitement as to what this fresh new year may bring. A new perspective. The possibilities, the challenges, the lessons, the fun, love and laughter, and the opportunities for growth.
And the days are getting noticeably longer. Bulb shoots are bursting up through the ground. The light is returning. The sap is rising. New ideas are coming ready to be turned into action when the time is right.
Today I choose to be grateful for January and this new year.
~ Pic from Earth Pathways wall calendar
Day 4: Today I am grateful for my job
As well as teaching yoga I also work part-time in University internal communications – here’s my desk, complete with a tiny Buddha, Ganesh and crystals + OM vibes.
So today, I choose to be grateful for my job. A challenging one this morning I’ll admit, when the alarm went off at silly o’clock this morning after 2 weeks of lovely lie-ins over Christmas.
However, going part-time allowed me to begin my yoga teaching journey – providing me with stability and income as I build my yoga & meditation services.
I’m also very aware that there are lots of people who can’t find a job which is interesting and which uses their skills and experiences; can’t find employment which pays a living wage; or just can’t find any job at all.
So on this dark January morning when it could’ve been all too easy to fall into the “grrr, I don’t want to go back to work” mindset, I chose to be grateful for the job I have; the colleagues and friends I have at work; and the fact that I am able to work
part-time and pursue my dream of making a sustainable living teaching yoga, relaxation and meditation to give stressed-out and busy souls a chance to ground themselves, get out of their heads and into their bodies; to give themselves precious me-time and to improve their wellbeing, and sense of connection with their mind, body and soul.
Today I choose to be grateful for my job.
Day 5: Today I am grateful for the ground beneath my feet
Whenever I feel anxious, or off balance, too busy or overwhelmed I know I can remember, and feel into, the solid earth beneath me, to feel safe, anchored and secure.
As someone who has a nervous system which is easily stimulated and overwhelmed by what’s going on around me (and in my head! #HighlySensitivePerson) I know that I can stop, breathe, connect to the earth, put down imaginary roots into the nourishing, stable earth beneath me to feel steady, safe and secure once again.
I imagine the excess nervous energy, the tension, the myriad of busy thoughts literally draining away from me into the earth below and this restores me to equilibrium, ease and peace of mind.
And of course, the earth beneath our feet is the provider of life through giving us land to live on, food to sustain us and beauty to nourish our souls.
Today I choose to be grateful for the earth beneath me.
And I know I am safe, held and nurtured.
Day 6: Today I am grateful for the wonderful souls who come to my yoga classes
As I return to teaching after a couple of weeks off over Christmas I am reminded how teaching yoga is my calling: my vocation. And how sorely needed a respite from the demands and busy-ness and pressure of day-to-day life is needed and how blessed I am to be able to provide this.
My yoga, relaxation and meditation practice over the years has helped me to understand my self; to connect to my body; to forge a new, positive relationship with my mind and my emotions; to heal my self-critical thoughts; and to give me space to sit quietly and just be. And this is what I aim to share and to provide and to enable.
I am grateful beyond words for the wonderful people who come to my yoga classes and workshops: brave souls who are willing to swim against the prevailing tide of pushing and striving and doing to carve out time in their busy lives to practise yoga to release, to relax and to restore – and do something good for themselves.
Today I am grateful for teaching yoga and all those who read my blogs, have come to, currently come to and all those who will come to share yoga with me. I love you all
Day 7: today I am grateful for the return of the light!
The days are slowly getting longer and lighter – hang in there!
On dark grey days it can be easy to forget the sun is still there waiting to come back out. So my heart was lifted to see this late-afternoon glowing sky.
No matter how you feel remember the sun is always there – shining, bringing light and life and energy and radiance.
Today I am grateful for the sunlight.
Day 8: Today I am grateful for people who express their gratitude
This week I’ve had some lovely feedback from new students and old on the wonderful effect they’ve experienced from my yoga classes. And it really made my heart glow Now, I’m all for being self-confident, believing in yourself and not relying on others for validation. But… it was lovely to hear someone say “you’re an amazing teacher”, “I felt totally different by the end of the class” and “I’m so glad I came”.
Human beings are social animals. We want to feel connected and valued. We want to feel what we’re doing is noticed and helpful.
Expressing thanks and gratitude to others for their help is a simple way of spreading a bit of joy.
Who could you say a heartfelt “thank you” to today?
Today I choose to be grateful for the cheery souls who spread some love by expressing their thanks (and may I be one of them, daily!)
Day 9: Today I am grateful for my beloved husband Michael
He is my soul mate, my best friend, the love of my life.
Not a day goes by when I am not grateful for our understanding and support for each other.
I know he sees me, supports me, loves me for who I am in all my unique Stellayness.
Today I am grateful for his love, support and quirky sideways lens on life
Day 10: Today I am grateful I have in-laws who live in The Mumbles so I get to regularly see this glorious view of Swansea Bay
I love to watch the shifting light – it changes from moment to moment, particularly on a showery morning like this morning.
Watching the light and water helps me to connect to inner stillness and reminds me to appreciate the simple pleasures in life.
What locations or views make YOUR heart sing?
Day 11: Today I am grateful for the time I have
Having had a crazy busy day at work today and a very long to-do lists for both developing my yoga teaching and in my part-time job, today’s gratitude is more of a mantra I repeat to myself when I start to feel overwhelmed by how much I’d like to do compared to how much time I feel I have in the day.
“I am grateful for the time I have” helps me to slow down, gain some perspective and realize that all will unfold as it should and when it should.
There’s no point panicking!
Day 12: Today I am grateful I asked for help
So, today I had a wonderfully enlightening session with The Movement Specialist Marie-Claire Pilates & Yoga Specialist.
About 15 months ago I had an episode of back pain and saw an osteopath who pointed out some interesting aspects to my spine and posture (including a possible unstable spinal segment – not something anyone wants to hear let alone a yoga teacher!).
I’d be thinking about getting more advice on this but hadn’t quite got around to it – part of the reason being that as a yoga practitioner and teacher I thought I “should” be able to help myself sort it out.
Now that was my ego talking!
So I organised a movement analysis session with Marie-Claire today and learned so much about my posture and how I move and how I can make subtle and important changes to heal my spine’s relationship with movement! Mind = blown And these were lessons I never could have taught myself because, with the best will in the world, you can’t see your own spine and how it moves!
So today I am immensely grateful that I reached out and asked for help.
You can’t do everything yourself. There are others out there who can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask through fear, or pride or ego.
Reach out to get the help you need – self-care is not a luxury.
Day 13: Today I am grateful that I can run wellbeing sessions at my workplace
As well as teaching yoga I also work part-time, and since August last year I’ve been running “Wellbeing at Work” sessions based on simple chair-based yoga movements, breathing techniques and relaxation to reduce stress at my workplace.
Today I ran something different: a Mindfulness session – mindful movement and a body scan.
I love, love, love the fact that I’m bringing accessible yoga & meditation techniques to new people and giving people the permission to do something good for themselves in their working day. They’re happy. I’m happy
I am grateful that I have the opportunity to teach yoga in my workplace as well as to my regularly weekly classes
Day 14. Today I am grateful for having a moment to do… nothing in particular
In our busy over-scheduled over-stimulated lives how often do we allow ourselves time to do nothing?
Not very often is my answer and probably yours too.
So this morning between teaching my yoga class and going to work I’ve just sat with a cuppa, had a little read of Kindred Spirit mag and stared out the window at the sunny sky for a bit. Lovely
Today I am grateful for moments to daydream, relax and do nothing. And promise to gift myself more of them!
Day 15: Today I am grateful for this shining, glittering beautiful January day
Yes, it’s cold out there but it’s warm in here in my home (another reason to be grateful!).
But what a corker of a day?! Sunny, shining, serene. A day to bring a glow to the cheeks and a song to the heart.
Day 16. Today I feel deeply grateful and truly blessed to have been able to lead a gorgeous workshop this morning
…with a group of beautiful souls open and willing to be present and accepting and full-hearted, as we let go of the old year and set our highest priorities for this coming year.
May all of your dreams become your reality dear one.
With much love to all those following the path of yoga to come home to their true selves: peaceful, wise and full of love xxx
Day 17. Today I am grateful for my meditation practice
My daily meditation grounds me into my body, calms my mind, connects me to myself and to stillness, and helps me hear the quiet whispers of my intuition, my higher wisdom.
I am so grateful that last year I committed to a daily meditation practice. I’ve felt something really shift in the last few months and I feel more joyful, present and grounded.
I am grateful for meditation. It enables me to be here now.
Day 18. Today I am grateful for moderation…
As in, everything in moderation, even moderation.
So I’m enjoying a few chocs #guiltfree
A little of what you fancy does you good n all.
Day 19. Today I am grateful for doing my self assessment tax return. Yes really!
Now I admit feeling joyful about giving hard-earned cash to HMRC has taken a bit of effort but I’m all for shifting my perspective!
So I’m grateful that in this tax return, my third tax return for my yoga teaching biz, I actually had a fair bit of tax to pay because it’s an outward sign that my business is becoming the sustainable income I want it to be so I am able to enable more courageous souls to nurture themselves, relax and swim against the tide of our over-stimulated busy busy culture.
So no my purse isn’t really empty … even if it feels like it after paying my tax bill today. But my heart is full
Day 20. Today I am grateful for nature’s little miracles
This morning I found Jack Frost had been doodling on the mirror on my back garden gate.
Breathtakingly complex and beautiful!
Simple pleasures are the best!
Day 21: Today I am grateful that I had chance to nip out from the office to see this beautiful sunset
Take all the little chances you can each and every day to connect with something that fills you up.
I never pass up the chance to gaze at the sky!
Day 22. Today I am grateful for the opportunity to share deep relaxation and healing through my Relax Release Restore class
Here I am amidst lots of yoga bolsters getting ready to go out!
I love teaching this class and seeing people arrive frazzled and leave blissed out.
It feels my calling to give stressed out souls precious me-time and permission to relax.
Day 23. Today I am grateful for the simple pleasure of food (and grateful I have daily access to all the food I need …and more )
After a “hard” day meditating on my Meditation Teacher Training in London it felt really good to come home and ground myself with some simple, healthy food.
(Vegan too – adventures in veganism!) Yum
Day 24 Today I am grateful for music
It’s always been a big part of my life from playing flute piano and violin at school, to my love of early music, to singing in a choir today.
Its capacity to move, inspire, connect, enthuse and help us transcend is beautiful.
And today I’ve been having a Kate Bush day. Her music has been in my life on and off throughout most of my life.
And of course music can inspire us literally to move. And I’m always one to encourage you to put some music on and dance around the room as if nobody was watching and not give a flying fig what you look like.
…So I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is today and share this video (Queen of the wafty arms ha ha!!)
Day 25. Today I am grateful for signs of spring
Signs of life are stirring around us.
The sap is rising.
I can feel the life stirring in the ground waiting to burst out so soon!
Spring is on its way
Day 26: Today I am grateful for my Ganesha mantra meditation
Each morning I chant 2 rounds of the Ganesha mantra (that’s 2 x 108 times!)
Ganesha is the remover of obstacles, the god of knowledge, wisdom and new beginnings.
Now, my personal interpretation is that I’m celebrating my inner Ganesh – the innate wisdom and knowledge of my intuition and higher self. To that power within me which can overcome all that holds me back and joyfully release obstacles.
And to remind me of this inner power here’s my beautiful Ganesh statue modelling the mala beads I use when I chant his mantra.
Om gam Ganapataye namaha!
Day 27: Today I am grateful for simple pleasures at the end of the day
… and tonight that means Bake Off! Yay, love it!
Coming home after teaching yoga to the innocent pleasures of the Bake Off = smiles
Day 28: Today I am grateful for the sun
Without the sun there would be no life on our Earth. In this way we are all beings of light.
So turn your face towards the sun and feel the light filling you up and connecting you to source. Be filled up.
And remember, even if you can’t see it, the sun is always there, bringing life and energy to all living things.
Day 29: Today I am grateful I allowed myself time to pause
… and acknowledge my feminine cycle and t
he need for rest at this time of the month.
Curled up on the sofa with #coderedthebook, some Pukka Womankind tea and my Carnelian stone.
Day 30. Today I am grateful for celebrating joy
As well as this month of being actively grateful I have a Joy Jar going. Every day noting something that lifted my heart or made me smile and I pop it in the jar. So at the end of the year I can literally see all the good in my life.
This isn’t about going around with rose-tinted blinkers on though. No, it’s about choosing to look for a positive perspective, about actively noticing what’s life enhancing.
I will always be grateful that this January I chose to look for joy because already I feel lighter, freer, more at ease with myself and my life just as it is.
Choose joy! What are you grateful for today?
Day 31: Today I am grateful for ME
I’m all for encouraging you to appreciate yourself – your unique gifts, qualities and talents that you have to shine out in the world.
So, I am saying it loud and proud: today I am immensely grateful to be the unique being I am.
I am grateful for my sensitivity; my creativity; my mischievous sense of humour; my appreciation of the subtle things; my love of sunsets and flowers; my cheekiness; my seriousness; my ability to write and communicate well and touch others; my teaching gifts; my big heart and soul; my empathy; my quirkiness; my (hard-won) self-confidence; and for my values and ethics. I’m also grateful for my curly hair and pale skin; for my height and weight; for my slightly-oddly shaped spine; and for all aspects of my body and physical condition.
I am grateful beyond words that I was born into this female body, in this place, at this time in history and for all the challenges and delights I have experienced in my life so far to make me the person I am today so I can share my unique gifts and perspective with others and inspire, empower, and enable other sensitive souls to love themselves and be themselves, and to find ease in their bodies and inner peace within.
YOU are a unique soul born at this time for a reason. What are YOU grateful for about yourself? What gifts are YOU here to share?
Don’t think about it. Just write it, speak it or think it.
Don’t censor yourself. Appreciate yourself.
LOVE yourself, just as you are
Over to you
What brings you joy? What are YOU grateful for in your life? I’d love to hear – share your inspirations in the comments below.
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