The Missing Piece in a Gratitude Practice
Many years ago I was introduced to the concept of doing 30 day trials by reading Steve Pavlina’s blog. I began doing them myself to experiment with different lifestyle changes that I was interested in at the time. Then I started incorporating them into my dance classes. I had a strong desire to connect more with my students, to get them more connected to themselves, each other, the music, and to their movement and these 30 day trial where very impactful in that mission.
Today, we think of them more as monthly themes and there is a flow that has been established. In September, we start with water. We notice and chart what our current intake is and then we up it to support our bodies since that is our tool in dance. Often, I have many students who end up dropping soda and it is a beautiful result :)
In October, we set our intentions for the year; declaring how we want to feel and how we are going to show up in class. I like it better than goal setting because that feels too linked to success and failure but if we can focus on how we want to feel and then come up with actions to get there it feels juicy. My favorite question is to ask how they want to show up because it puts the responsibility in their hands. They have the choice to walk into class letting their bad day take over class or they can show up present and ready to live within the movement.
This month is gratitude but I really encourage my students to continue this practice throughout the year. In week one, we talk about what gratitude means and their homework is to find quotes that resonate with them around gratitude and share why with the class. Week two, we start a nightly practice of writing down what we are grateful for in a journal and we share some of those moments in class. In week three, we talk about how we can show our gratitude to others and their homework is to express their gratitude throughout their week in various ways. In week four, we honor the work that we have done around gratitude and talk about how we can continue practicing gratitude for the rest of the year.
I personally love seeing that so many people have a gratitude practice on social media throughout the month but I think there is a big piece that we are missing. That piece is expressing our gratitude. Saying a simple thank you, leaving notes, or doing an act for someone else in return (look up love languages). It is a powerful practice to write down what we are thankful for but it is that much more powerful when we take the time to acknowledge those that bring joy to our lives.
What are you grateful for today and how are you going to express your gratitude?