Many of you may have seen me tweet about spirituality. I’ve written about it before, and if you’re friends with me on Facebook, I post about it quite often.
I have a regular spiritual practice. I was raised Roman Catholic, but as I got older and began to educate myself, I found the Catholic Church’s views to be quite hypocritical and incredibly out of line with my belief system.
I was in limbo for quite some time until I discovered the late Dr. Wayne Dyer when I was in the midst of a severe depression that caused me to have to go on medical leave from college. The first book I read of his was all about synchronicity, which is essentially the theory that there are no coincidences and that everything is working behind the scenes on your behalf.
I recovered from depression and lost touch with my spiritual practice until 2010 when I discovered Gabrielle Bernstein. She was a receiving alcoholic, recovering drug addict, and recovering from being co-dependent in relationships. I picked up her book Spirit Junkie and devoured it along with the guided meditation album that was released with the book (If you haven’t tried meditating, you really should. It has so many health benefits). I also purchased her book Add More Ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide To Happiness.
Gabby’s books radically changed my life, and I started to dedicate myself to my spiritual practice again. Everyone’s spiritual practice is different, and that’s what I like about spirituality. If you don’t want to or like meditating, you don’t have to – it doesn’t mean you’re “bad” at spirituality. You don’t have to do yoga; you don’t have to drink green juice every day or be a strict vegan. All you need is a willingness to see love in every situation, to know that what you see in other’s is a reflection of what’s inside of you, and that we are all one.
Anyway, I have followed Gabby religiously over the years as well as other spiritual influencers like Danielle LaPorte, Gala Darling, who is also my blogging mentor, Mastin Kipp, Kate Northrup, Marie Forleo, Amanda Frances, Tonya Vanderhart, and Amy Fiedler (among others – I’m sure I’m forgetting some other individuals).
One of the biggest things that Gabby, and others, talk about is having an “attitude of gratitude.”
Basically, the more grateful you are, even for the little things in life, the more abundance and joy you will attract into your life. When you recognize all of the blessings you have, you will see even more blessings come your way.
I begin every morning with a specific routine. I’ve started to avoid looking at my phone right when I wake up. Rather, I open my eyes and meditate anywhere from 1 to 7 minutes. I prefer guided meditations, so I use Gabby’s guided meditation albums. She has one for Spirit Junkie, one for her book May Cause Miracles, and another one to go along with Add More Ing to Your Life.
After meditating, which has tons of health benefits regardless of when you do it or for how long, I open up my journal and write down 5 things I am grateful for. You can write down more, of course, but 5 is the minimum you should stick to. They can be small things like “I am grateful for my cozy, soft pillow” or big things like “I am grateful that my parents pay for me to go to college.” Starting the day off in a grateful mindset will allow you to cultivate positivity as you go throughout your day, and as I stated before, the more positive and grateful you are, the more positivity and blessings you’ll attract into your life.
- It improves your physical health by diminishing aches and pains and bestowing and overall feeling of health upon you;
- It improves your psychological health by allowing you to be happier, more empathetic, and more sensitive towards others;
- It reduces aggression;
- It improves your sleep;
- It improves your self-esteem which creates optimal performance – something equestrians would and should be greatly interested in.
- Recognizing what you have in your life to be grateful for reduces your urge to compare yourself to others and allows you to appreciate others’ accomplishments;
- Having a strong gratitude practice improves your mental toughness and resilience and reduces stress
Not only do I write down what I am grateful for in the morning, I write down what I am grateful for a night right before I go to bed. That way, when I am falling asleep, my mind and heart are full of gratitude and thinking of all of the blessings I have which, as mentioned above, allows me to sleep better and longer and wake up in a better mood.
This is just part of my morning routine. I also take time in the morning to write down my goals for the day (and week, if it is a Monday), as well as things I would like to accomplish. However, when I am writing down the things I want to accomplish, I write them as if they have already happened. This allows the Universe to tap into my energy and see that I am open to receiving all of the positive things that are coming my way.
Additionally, I keep a physical planner along with using the calendar on my phone. I have been using Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map Planner since it was first released three years ago. In the planner, every
single day, there is a space to write down what you are grateful for on that particular day, so I get a double dose of my gratitude practice. Danielle only has the weekly edition of her Desire Map Planner left for this year, which you can get here. If you’re more of a daily agenda type person, Danielle usually releases her planners towards December. If you want to get a head start on identifying how you want to feel and how your goals should work towards that, you can invest in her Desire Map book which is all about setting goals and intentions for your life based on how you want to feel, which I think is genius.
I know that this may be a little “woo woo” for some of you – but if you are at all open-minded, I urge you to give some of this a try, even if it’s just practicing being more grateful on a daily basis. You will begin to see major shifts in your mindset and your attitude that you didn’t see before.
Also, if you are interested in reading more of Gabrielle Bernstein’s work, I highly recommend her latest book The Universe Has Your Back. If you’re looking for a good starter book that will help you develop your spiritual practice, Spirit Junkie is definitely the go-to.
ps. I got my notebook from Erin Condren.