"Do we have a Gratitude Attitude" ?
I want to begin by saying, I am thankful for you! in all your flaws, forms, perfections and imperfections and everything in-between, thank you for being YOU!
My hope is that families who come together on Thanksgiving can find a mindful space to notice an Attitude of Gratitude and invite others to not only share some of their personal thanks on this day, but also to remember this Attitude of Gratitude every day.
Simply pausing to notice thoughts and feelings of gratefulness is indeed opportunity for expanding our minds and hearts, however, if we notice when recalling a grateful experience or directly expressing a grateful attitude to another, our hearts and minds expand both inwardly and outwardly; its an empowering experience that connects the feeling and thought to an application of gratefulness! For example, we can write in a gratitude journal about how we feel grateful for an experience we want to recall (in the near or distant future) or we can verbally give thanks when we are served a meal by a friend or family. We can also pause and notice the many sources that are involved in the farm-to-table experience - farmers planting and harvesting crops, transporters loading and delivering to local markets, stockers displaying items in the grocery store, parents drive to and shop for items in the market, cashiers and baggers who sell, scan, exchange items for money and nicely packaged items; It's a process that involves a lot of people and experiences - all who are vastly interconnected.
In addition, if we are grateful for the food we are preparing to eat, when we sit down in our chair at the dining table, we can be mindful of our body sitting for just a few moments - for example, how each part of our body is making contact with the chair and our feet with the ground. How are all our senses engaging with the eating experience - taking a moment to pay attention with our eyes, nose and ears the various foods on our plate-its rich colors and textures and the smells and possibly how it sounds - is it sizzling or crackling? Can we pay attention to how we reach for and pick up our utensils and then how we scoop our food and then bring it to our open mouth and actually feel the texture and taste in our mouth as it lands on the various parts of the mouth before we begin chewing with our teeth. What is the sensation of chewing feel like - is it crunchy, soft, hard? What does it feel like to swallow the food and notice the process as it moves down into our stomach? If we pay attention, just for a moment, we may begin to notice a heightened sensory eating experience; it is quiet amazing!
Can we take a few moments each day to list at least 5 reasons to be grateful?
Here are my 5 Attitudes of Gratitude for today:
1. All my relational connections
2. Clean and Comfortable Shelter & Healthy, Free-Choice Food & Clean, Abundant Water
3. The air I breathe in and out (Mindfully 😊)
4. My healthy body that moves and organizes in ways beyond comprehension
5. My commitment to grow in mind-heart-body ( Mindfully 😊)
"All that has been integrated into Mindful Communication has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions."
~Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Founder Center for Non-Violent Communication
One of the most important questions that adults and parents I work with asks is, "how can I better connect with my child or partner?" They add that a lot of the time, there is conflict that begins with communication and that they often feel they are in a monologue with self, rather than a dialogue with the other; there is a breakdown in both listening and speaking, which creates irritation, judgment, blame and often dis-connection. My response is - we have to begin by looking within...and inquire how we are listening. By turning the mental-emotional compass inward, we learn this is where the focus should be. Only then can we begin to have real communication with another.
Mindful Listening in Communication is so deeply powerful and empowering, we learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. This week we will focus on Mindful Listening in Communication with another. Through its emphasis on deep listening—to ourselves as well as others--Mindful Listening helps us discover the depth of our own compassion. This language reveals the awareness that all human beings are only trying to honor universal values and needs, every minute, every day.
Through the practice of Mindful Listening, we can learn to clarify what we are observing, what emotions we are feeling, what values we want to live by, and what we want to ask of ourselves and others. We will no longer use the language of blame, judgment or domination/control. We can experience the deep pleasure of contributing to each others' well being. Mindful Listening creates a path for healing and reconciliation in its many applications, ranging from intimate relationships, work settings, health card, social services, to governments, schools and social change organizations - just to mention a few.
Here are Some Mindful Listening Tips we can Reflect on and Practice:
Author: Nina Bhatty
If you found this article to be helpful and would like to offer some feedback, feel free to do so in the "comments" section below. Thank you!
Parenting is an adventure! It can be one of the most rewarding, exciting and joyful challenges we can endeavor. Yet parenting can also leave us feeling exhausted, frustrated and uncertain that we are fulfilling our role to its fullest potential - as parents, as adult role models. Sometimes these challenges can leave us feeling at a loss with our thoughts, feelings and actions.
Mindful Parenting can serve as a framework whereby parents bring moment-to-moment awareness with intention to the parent–child relationship. Further developing the qualities of listening with full attention when interacting with their children, cultivating emotional awareness and self-regulation in parenting, and bringing compassion and nonjudgmental acceptance to their parenting interactions.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in the field of Mindfulness, incorporating mindful awareness into parenting interactions can allow parents to pause and essentially shift their awareness in order to view their present-moment parenting experience within the context of the long-term relationship that they have with their child, as well as attend to their child’s needs, while exercising self-regulation and wise choice in their actions. When a parent can do this, they shift the dynamic of parenting from a judging, self-focused and auto-pilot approach (which will likely lead to less than optimal quality in parent–child relationships) to one of acceptance, child-focused and mindfulness. Mindful parenting suggests that parents who can remain aware and accepting of their child’s needs through using mindfulness practices can create a family context that allows for more enduring satisfaction and enjoyment in the parent–child relationship.
Here are 12 Mindful Parenting Exercises we can reflect and practice as we continue our Mindful Parenting Journey (excerpted from Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn's Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. © 1997):
If you found this article insightful in any way, please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below.