Ever notice that not only are you not totally connected to this “grateful thing” but furthermore you are actually feeling ungrateful?
(Don’t worry, this is a blog. No one can see you. Be honest with yourself. Lack of gratitude is a really common struggle that folks all around you, maybe even yourself, wrestle with.)
When do you feel ungrateful and why? Perhaps you are not enjoying what’s right in front of you. Many of us suffer from lack of presence, unconsciously, and this can reduce our ability to feel gratitude (or anything). If we are always thinking about the past or the future, we forget to see and appreciate what is right before us.
Overwhelm plays a part in this. When our system is overloaded with stress, we can’t discern what matters. When we don’t know what matters, it’s challenging to enter that blissful state of appreciation or gratitude. Yep, that’s why there are millions of books on how to simplify our lives; a simpler life leads us to deeper and more frequent experiences of presence. Presence leads us to the naturally occurring state of gratitude.
You know that wonderful feeling of a satisfying meal after being hungry? That is gratitude. Making space for hunger—not always filling the empty spaces in our heads with worry about the past or the future—gives us the opportunity to feel deep satisfaction from the moment at hand. If we satisfy our hunger with the life directly in front of us, we can feel that divine, blissful exhale of gratitude.
You’ve heard “follow your bliss” right? How does this fit with gratitude?
Bliss is a physiological state.
Expressing, feeling, and receiving gratitude can cause the release of oxytocin—the happy hormone, the bonding hormone, the love hormone. This oxytocin induced state is often experienced as bliss.
Bliss is a connecting point to our natural inclination to feel gratitude. Therefore, by following our bliss we instinctively seek out ways to experience gratitude.
What do you do that is pleasurable, on a regular basis?
Do you realize how critical pleasure is to your health?
The you-can-do-anything-be-anyone-earn-as-much-money-have-as-much-stuff-as-you-want myth—yes, myth!—has caused so much harm to our culture. It distances us from real pleasure. This is an adrenal driven myth, and the difference between the release of adrenaline and oxytocin is significant. Prolonged release of adrenaline ultimately costs us, but oxytocin always benefits us.
LEXI: How do we find pleasure in life without following the myth?
Pleasure is health inducing. It is a state of being that causes us to be embodied, to be present. When we are embodied and present, we are in a state of selfhood or essence which could simply be called love.
LEXI: The leap from Present to Love is a big one for me….want to elaborate on that her or another blog? I think you should stick with Pleasure here.
Love. Go there.