“I want to stay in love when fear drives me to hate and judgement. I want to practice gratitude and cultivate joy in the darkness. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be afraid or sad or vulnerable, it simply means that reacting to tragedy by living in fear doesn’t create empathy, it breeds more fear.” Brene Brown, inspired by Martin Luther King
This practice of gratitude is a daily intention, a prayer for living, hopefully even a way of life. There is much to be grateful for and many ways to find it, from a simple meditation to a five-minute entry in a Gratitude Journal before going to sleep at night. When I first tried this practice, it felt, frankly, a bit awkward and even forced. I found myself penning gratitude for the same things over and over.
While this is great – to appreciate what I have in my life – it quickly became apparent that there was so much more I could reflect upon. And with each reflection, the gratitude went deeper and wider, until it spread to an ongoing perception of abundance in even the smallest of events, moments, observations. When filled with gratitude, it is hard to retreat in fear. Somehow, it becomes easier to carry fear without becoming fear-filled. Might this then be the foundation of empathy?
Try it. Perhaps you will find yourself moved from abundance to empathy, letting fear take a back seat to your day. And then, please share your gratitude moment(s) here.