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Mindful : April 2018
By Elaine Smookler • Illustration by Dawid Ryski ABOUT THE AUTHOR Elaine Smookler is a registered psychotherapist with a 20-year mindfulness prac tice. She is a senior faculty member at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies, in Toronto. fine and dandy. Living your life with gratitude means choosing to focus your time and attention on what you appreciate. The goal is not to block out difficul- ties, but to approach those difficulties from a different perspective. Appreciation softens us. It soothes our turbulent minds by con- necting us with the wonder- fully ordinary things, great and small, that we might otherwise take for granted. Go ahead and take gratitude for a spin right now. Think of anything at all in your life that you Thanks For This Gratitude isn’t just in our head: It takes root in the heart and the senses, for one beautiful moment...and then another. can feel thankful for: that driver who yielded when you realized you were in the wrong lane, the fact that the sun rose this morning, any quality in yourself that you admire. When you’re thank- ful, how does your body respond? Is there a sense of lightness? Tingling? Warmth? In what way does expressing gratitude change your outlook? Might there be a connection between gratitude and happiness? Gratitude can help us see that not everything is ter- rible—not all the time, any- way. Practicing gratitude → The breaking day was shimmering with the buzz of nature going about its business. Breathing in, I felt awakened by the delicate bite of the early spring air. Breathing out, I felt my warm breath rise like a morning prayer. There was nothing special going on, only gently bubbling stillness and beauty all around. A mo- ment of peace. I felt grateful to be present and noticing. What does it mean to be grateful? Thankfully, it doesn’t mean convincing yourself of some bogus notion that everything’s For a practice from Elaine Smookler on how to cultivate gratitude, visit mindful.org/ gratitudemeditation 30 mindful April 2018 LIVING | inner wisdom