Monday, March 27, 2017

GRATITUDES: Stand and Say Three, Write Three, Jump and Say Three

LOVE Games, #1 , #2 and #3
Saying Gratitude Aloud
Writing Gratitudes on Paper or a Journal
Gratitude with a jumping and happy body

On June 20, 2015, I walked down the street on which I lived, to meet a woman I knew and admired and liked, but with whom I thought I had no “romantic” expectations. We were going to meet for a lunch and “study” session. I was writing a book on radical listening. She was smart and kind and I wanted her input. Her name was Carol Williams then.
It’s Carol Elms now.

I had a gratitude journal, in which I was writing three to five times a day.
Writing gratitude, combined with writing goals, had me focusing on and delight on what was good in my life, what was working, and what I wanted more of, or what I wanted that I didn’t have yet.
I wanted a great woman.
I wanted a great woman that I didn’t have to meet through the Internet.
Who could match me in smarts and love of learning.
And…. (hey, you can write any goal you want) .. I wanted a great woman who was within walking distance.

In the mean time, life was good. I was present a lot. I was outdoors a lot. I was moving with awareness a lot.

I was writing gratitudes a lot.

Gratitude had me focusing on the good.
Goals writing had me focusing on what I wanted, from the real me who felt that gratitude for being alive.

Carol and I met for an hour.
And then keep talking, in turns (a “game” you’ll play soon) for more hours.
And more hours.

The talking was a special kind: the listener did not interrupt.
Both people were attempting to be as present as possible.
The goal was to listen to really “get” the other person.

You’ll do a mini-version of this next chapter: You’ll share gratitudes with another person.
Back and forth, back and forth.

Today, it’s time to start diving into the wonders of gratitude for you, right now, in this moment, the only moment where you can experience your life.

Love Game #1: Stand and say aloud three gratitudes
Stand up.
Say aloud three gratitudes.
That’s it.
Life is too sedentary.
If we want to create a new and better life for ourselves, we need to move.
So do it:

Do it.

If you are planning to “get around to it later, when there’s more time,” give the book back.
Admit you don’t want to change.
If you want a more wonderful life for yourself, stand and say three gratitudes aloud.

That wasn’t so hard.
Did you feel a shift?

Gratitude is a wonderful opener to who we really are.
The part that loves feels gratitude.
That part that feels gratitude loves.

Gratitude tells the Universe you are happy with what you’ve gotten.
It subtly tells the Universe you’d like more of that. 

It has you focused on what is nourishing in your life.
It reminds you of where to go for a better life.

And, here’s the latest research: scientists have found that the brain can be in either fear or gratitude, but not both.
This isn’t the time to go into what a sinkhole fear can be, but it is a nice reminder that there are really two ways to live life: in contraction and worry and fear, or in expansion and delight and gratitude.
Two ways to live life:
Contracting and in fear and complaint and worry
Expanding and in love and learning and joy and effectiveness and ease

And gratitude is to keep open the door of expansion.

So, let’s do it some more…

Love Game #2: Right now, write now, three or more gratitudes.

This means finds paper or parchment or an old shirt. And getting a pen or pencil or crayon or quill.
Preferably pen and paper.
Even better pen and a “gratitude journal,” if you’ve got an old journal somewhere in the house that you’ve been waiting to “get around” to using.

And if no paper is around, don’t let that stop you.
You’ve got a finger.
You know how to write.
Write now, right now, anyway, by using your finger and “air writing” three or more gratitudes in the air, or on your leg, or on this book.
Or, hey, try writing three in the air, and then go get a book and write the same three or a different three on paper. 

Love Game #3: Jumping Gratitudes
Stand up.
Life is movement.
Happiness is often movement connected.
Sex is movement.
And… let’s stand up again.
Preferably near a window with a  view of something you enjoy.
Preferably some part of Nature, sky, cloud, tree, flowers, ocean. Who knows.
Preferable with your shoes off.
Even better, socks off.

And, wherever you are standing and however you are standing, put your hands up in the air.
And jump.
In a circle.
One way, and then the other.
Wiggle your fingers.
Wiggle your arms.
And as you do this say, at least three times. And finish the sentence…
“I am grateful….”
“I am grateful…”
“I am grateful…”

This may seem silly.
Do it.

This may seem like “too much trouble.”
Do it.

You can’t be depressed and jump.
You can’t jump without accessing higher levels of coordination.
You can’t jump without disrupting your normal crap, unless you happen to jump a lot.
If you happen to jump a lot, give me a call. You’re probably way interesting.
If you don’t jump a lot, I hope you start.

(Aside: in 2010 I came to Austin with two suitcases and my Feldenkrais® table. I knew two people, who were very cool people, neither of whom got back to me for six months. I’d never been to Austin.
It was supposed to be a winter’s stay, and then back to Orcas Island for the summer.
I came as a couch surfer, which meant I was guaranteed all of three days with my first hosts.
That led to a second host.
And a third.
And a fourth.
And a stay in the youth hostel.
And a place that was very interesting
And a place down the block from where I meet Carol five years later.
The point?
One reason I thought to give Austin a try was that my son suggested it, and he’s a cool guy.
A reason I decided to follow his hint: Austin was supposed to be the “Berkeley of Texas,” and I’d spend many happy years in Berkeley, though I didn’t go to school there. (Stanford and Caltech)
Another reason: the town slogan: “KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD.”
I figured I’d fit in.
I did.

Why are we going through this?
Jumping and saying gratitudes is weird.
Weird is good.
Jump, friend. Jump and say gratitudes.
Weirdness and freedom and authenticity all have a lot in common.
And happiness can come from all three.
And you deserve to be happy.
Right now.
So, right now, either say three more gratitudes, or write three more gratitudes, or jump and say three more gratitudes.
Or all three.
Life is fun.

You don’t like to jump?
Yes you do.
You might have forgotten, but you LOVE to jump.
This is good.
You are good.

Do these often: write gratitudes. Say the gratitudes into the air, without jumping. Say the gratitudes into the air, with jumping.
Keep a lookout for a gratitude journal.
Have fun.

Be grateful to yourself for beginning, or upgrading, your gratitude practice. Stand up. Jump. Be happy.

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