As my studies come to the pointy end where assignments are now being drafted and copious notes highlighted, I find myself reflecting. What have I learnt from my journey so far? My subject was chosen with no inquiry as to content matter, I was simply eager to enrol so I may continue my studies through Christmas period and become one step closer to completion of my qualification.
As I started the task requirements of my subject, I was lost. I had no time to reflect on ones emotions and gratitude of practice (I didn’t know what that actually meant at the time), I was busy being busy and hell bent on discovering the ‘theoretical principles’ of the subject so I could get on with assignment writing.
So I struggled and struggled to put my weekly posts on the book club task and the creation of a personal blog was terrifying. Time drew on and I went on holidays for the Christmas period. Various thoughts screamed at me. “Stop! Look at what you are trying to achieve. Be grateful you have weeks of holidays to immerse yourself in your subject and give it your best effort. Do you truly know what it is you are trying to achieve?” So many questions kept running through my mind.
Then I stopped. I went back to the beginning of my subject content and truly began the journey of discovering the practice of gratitude. Slowly I came to understand the message Kerry Howells (Facilitator of Gratitude in Education) was trying to convey to people just like me. Howells (2012 p. 38) states “Gratitude goes beyond an emotion or thought to be something that is actualised in one’s daily life through the heartfelt active practice of giving thanks. Gratitude is usually expressed towards someone or something. It is also an inner attitude that can be understood as the opposite of resentment or complaint.”
My life has changed. My mindset has changed. The opportunity to give and receive from others brings me joy, a sense of happiness, I’ve done this all of my life, it now has a conscious level of understanding within myself. Brother David Steindl-Rast talks of gratefulness as making us happy. Becoming aware and availing yourself to opportunity he states is the key to happiness. How many people have stopped to reflect on their lives and truly understood the purpose of reflection?
Method for living gratefully is summarised from Steindl-Rast in three easy steps:
Stop, Look, Go.
STOP: Look for signs
LOOK: What opportunities can be provided that will bring happiness and acts of gratitude?
GO: Put your thoughts into action, give to and accept from others
Through my own adversities as I have progressed through the weeks of this program I have actively chosen steps when faced with adversity that may produce opportunities to give thanks for lessons learnt. I believe the moments of self reflection gave me an opportunity to change my outcomes and I as a result have become consciously aware of my new inner attitude. Howells (2012, p.132) diagram outlines dimensions of the impact of one’s inner attitude and will be my mud map of conscious self reflection into the future.
I have learnt that the practice of gratitude is one of consistency and intent. Adversity potentially brings opportunity of learning and reflecting. Stop, Look, Go theory of Br. David Steindl-Rast brings opportunity for happiness and connection with others.
Most importantly, thank you to my followers who have read my journey and were kind in their feedback and suggestions. You gave me confidence in my journey.
Next week I am back at work and will be talking with fellow staff about the opportunity to develop communities of practice in gratitude. I look forward to completing my blog with ideas and feedback from that event.