Consider this fact: what you feed grows, what you starve dies.
This applies to us as creative beings. We humans have the unique capacity to ‘make something from no-thing’ and it is very powerful. We create with our thinking, which we then put into action. The Empire State Building was once just an idea – one that was fed.
Ancient yogic traditions address these notions as well, calling these mental activities “samskaras” – individual impressions and ideas that make up our conditioned thinking. They can be positive or negative, and repeating them becomes a habit.
Noticing these patterns in our thinking allows us to cultivate positive and creative mental habits.
Our thoughts and ideas are also driven by what we are feeling … feelings that urge us enthusiastically into action or that create resistance and reluctance. The beautiful thing about this is that we are in control of it all! So how to cultivate more of your ability to create what you want … for yourself, your family and the rest of the world?
Enter the power of gratitude.
Psychologist Robert Emmons of the Emmons Lab at University of California at Davis (http://emmons.faculty.ucdavis.edu/) is exploring the neuroscience of gratitude – how a conscious focus on it helps people experience greater emotional well-being and better physical health than people who don’t have such a practice.
Their research demonstrates that actively cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” results in feeling better about life as a whole, greater levels of joy and happiness, feeling optimistic about the future, more enthusiasm and determination as well as greater progress toward personal goals. They’ve even measured its power to help people sleep better, feel stronger, deal with stresses better, exercise more regularly and get sick less often!
Create a gratitude practice for yourself – here are some ideas:
Create a morning and evening ritual. Start each day by noticing 3 things you truly appreciate, about who and where you are, what you have and the people and experiences in your life. End each day by affirming what happened, or what you accomplished, that you’re grateful for. If you can share this practice with another person, even better. You can hold each other accountable and reinforce the practice.
Write thank you letters. Buy a month’s worth of small note cards and write one a day to someone you love or admire, or who has inspired or influenced you positively in some way. Give your appreciation for things small and large and cultivate a practice of letting others know. It will create the best feeling in you as well.
Commune with nature. Go outside, or even look out a window. Appreciate the beauty and how much life and growth you see. Marvel at the circle of life, and your part in it. Marvel at how your life is unfolding according to your creative vision, and your power to actively shape it.
An active, conscious practice of being grateful creates a fullness of heart, greater feelings of love for others and the world, and a lowered focus on fear, lack and limitation.
While you are building positive thoughts and feelings, you are crowding out those that do not serve and living in more positive energy. From a place of feeling deep appreciation you can feed more of what you truly want, which in turn starves out the thoughts and actions that don’t serve.