reverse gratitude ~ and life itself becomes pure ecstasy

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happy dogWarning: Do this simple (and no-cost, no-materials) exercise, and you may find yourself sincerely, deeply, ecstatically, and sometimes awkwardly appreciating life itself. As it is NOW.

Like the joy of a small child.

Or an unleashed dog in a big field of grass. Oh yeah, there we go. Literally feel unleashed.

✦ Even if you think your life looks crappy on paper.
✦ Even if you think you’ve got Problems with a capital P!
✦ Even without buying lots more stuff,
✦ without needing to upgrade this or that,
✦ without requiring the details to be just so for you to be happy or whatever.

Seriously. Just as it is.

THE BACK STORY

mustacheHave you ever heard about Stoics or Stoicism? Until recently all I knew was that the dude Brutus in Julius Caesar was a stoic, and it meant that he’d be really good at poker because he’d keep a straight face. That’s all I remember about this concept.

But one day, I learned something about Stoicism (through a mustache blog on the internet, if I remember correctly?) that affected me deeply.

I tried it out, and over time it gave life an innocence and beauty available even without requiring perfectly choreographed juice fasting, meditating, sleeping, and exercising. (Although, admittedly, eating well and all that jazz obviously does help too!)

WHAT IT IS, EXACTLY

You visualize NOT having something or someone you have (I’ll give you actual steps below), then reverse it to appreciate what you have now.

I’ve been calling it Reverse Gratitude, but I just looked it up and now remember it was called Negative Visualization where I first read it. The blog was apparently called “Mr. Money Mustache”.

But I digress. Stay with me here, this is well worth the learning.

THE METHOD

1. Look at your life as it is now. Soak up the details, all of ‘em.

2. Now pick something to get rid of. Something you perhaps take for granted. Like your child, your site, your car, your home, your abilities, your “grumpy husband” or “nagging wife”, your vision, use of your legs, the feeling of health. Take your pick.

3. Now, in detail, you imagine your days and your life NOT having that something or someone.

So let’s choose the example of your child. Just in case you have one. I picked that because for me, I could swear there was never a time without my sweet Lilla, that she has been with me since the beginning of time.

But, stay with me here, and do it. REALLY DO THIS. Imagine (even though it can be a little morbid and unsettling for a moment) that your child has passed and simply isn’t in your life anymore. Imagine you no longer get the pleasure to put him/her to bed, to go to school, to change the diaper, whatever your details, imagine them.

4. Now, bring yourself back to the present moment. Not only are you alive, but you have all that you have.

In the case of your child, you might enjoy the little moments more, see through their eyes, play more, love more, experience more. OH, the joys!! I ask Lilla literally every day, “Did you know it’s a pleasure to be your Mamãe?” She smiles a sweet, real, and so-tender smile and nods her head. She knows. She knows she is wanted. She knows that it’s not about whether she’s quiet, behaved, thankful, or whatever. It’s every day, always.

5. This is the most important step, the one that means this isn’t a one-time thing.

LATHER (soak it up! put some heart into this! this is LIFE!)
RINSE (forget for some moments, we all do it)
REPEAT (but then do this again until you truly appreciate every ding-dang thang!)

IMAGINE THE RESULTS

Sometimes, in life, it’s easy to become focused on the details, the inconveniences, the days late and dollars short, the minutes behind. To let all that shit get in the way of your life experience.

So let’s imagine two moms…

One is a mother of 3 kids, who doesn’t practice reverse gratitude. She’s exhausted, she has so much going on that it’s ridiculous, her “me time” consists of a shower (if she’s lucky), she’s not getting much sleep, ETC. The list can so easily go on. In this case, maybe she will, but maybe she won’t enjoy the moments. Maybe she won’t live and enjoy every day (details and all) like it’s someone’s last day alive. If she were to lose one of her kids, I don’t even want to imagine the regret she might feel.

The other woman has the exact same circumstances, but she practices reverse gratitude. She takes those extra moments to soak it all in, to be love, to dive into experiential gratitude. She has imagined and knows that, you just never know what could happen. Her kids don’t have reason to feel they’re an inconvenience… even if it’s just a moment sometimes, she TAKES THAT MOMENT to see them fully and to be present.

Eva-LillaI want to be that woman.

I AM THAT WOMAN. Not in every moment, but as the general course of my life…

✦ This is why I choose R.A.W.
✦ This is why I teach R.A.W.
✦ This is why I went from pretending my marriage sucked, to pretending it was amazing and perfect, to finding out it was A-OK all along.
✦ This is why I attempt to be humble and learn from life.
✦ This is why I get outta my comfort zone, even when it’s decidedly uncomfortable (go figure)…

OH, THE HOLIDAYS

If you’re hearing about gratitude but not quite feeling it, if you’re ready for your relatives to be GONE (or they’re secretly or not-so-secretly ready for you to be gone!)…

Try this out for real.

And share the idea!

I’d be chuffed to the bits to hear how it goes for you!
Eva-Signature

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