“Grateful living gives our hearts wide wings and stamina for the journey…”

Kristi Nelson, Wake Up Grateful

How might a single moment…the day ahead…even one’s whole life be transformed by gratefulness?

What is possible when we learn to live gratefully not only in times of abundance and ease, but also in times of uncertainty and struggle?

In the face of our shared sorrow — a sorrow that only compounds our concern for the planet, political strife, and our individual struggles — what role does gratefulness play? What is possible when we allow ourselves to lean into the practice of grateful living no matter our circumstances?

While it’s true that we’re bound together in struggle, we are also bound to one another in our capacity for resilience, wonder, courage, and gratitude.

We invite you to explore this weeklong practice centered on five illuminating pathways to perspective that lie at the heart of the Stop. Look. Go. approach to Grateful Living. The week begins with a personal video from Kristi Nelson, our executive director and author of Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted. The following days offer inspiration and exercises from the book that expand our capacity to embrace poignancy, invite peak awareness, acknowledge privilege and plenty, align with our principles, and open to pleasure — all in service of animating our imagination and energy for what is possible.

The Practice

Day 1: Become Present
In her book, Kristi writes, “When our ‘now’ is disconcerting, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of perseverating about the past and worrying about the future. A simple spaciousness of presence can be disarming in its quiet grace and invitations.” Opening to this spaciousness of presence — this disarming — is the bedrock of the week’s practice and allows us to cultivate perspective.

Day 2: Embrace Poignancy
Poignancy is a rich and provocative invitation to embrace paradox; we know poignancy whenever we hold love in the same space as we hold awareness of impermanence. Today’s practice is an invitation to embrace the poignancy of our current lives: the loves and the losses, the known and the uncertain.

Day 3: Invite Peak Awareness
If you consider your life thus far, chances are it’s not hard to bring to mind some of the peak experiences of your journey, those that have engulfed all your senses and offered an experience of awe. Today’s practice is an invitation to cultivate peak awareness as a way of expanding our perspective.

Day 4: Acknowledge Privilege and Plenty
Today’s practice is an invitation to acknowledge the places in our lives where blessing lives, without denying the real grief or struggle we — and others — may carry. When we can more fully notice and treasure what is already enriching our lives, it opens us to feeling replete and expands our capacity for true generosity of spirit.

Day 5: Align with Your Principles
Shared unknowns leave many of us wondering how to move forward, what to do, how to make decisions. The practice of remembering and aligning with one’s principles offers a place to begin, a compass that can clarify direction and build our capacity to act from inner wisdom.

Day 6: Open to Pleasure
Consider the possibility that the uncertainty of this time is actually an invitation for us to take notice of the small pleasures awaiting our attention. Welcome to this day of opening to joy, of cultivating our capacity to let the light in even in dark times.

Day 7: Cultivate Possibility
Over the course of the week, we’ve explored five points of perspective that invite us to look anew, to relish the poignancy and blessing of being alive — even during times of profound uncertainty. From the foundation of presence and perspective you have created for yourself this week, how will you express and share your grateful heart?

Feel moved to support future practices?
We warmly welcome contributions!


Feature photo by Stephanie Patterson