We know the profound benefits of gratitude and it's connection to living a successful life. It begins with a heart of love and appreciation that leads to loving relationships, reduced stress levels, an increase in confidence, productivity, optimism and energy, and more resilience.
I love the quote: 'Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away' and one stormy day I learnt what this meant.
It started like any other day; I bounced out of bed, prepared breakfast and a strong coffee. Enjoyed a discussion at 3.33am with my Editor in New York. Went to the gym before starting work.
My best friend called to invite me to the movies to see a French film called: 'La Familie Belier'. Little did I know it would be one of the most memorable moments of my life. I know it sounds strange however, before you sigh and roll your eyes, allow me to explain what happened.
We arrived at the cinemas early and managed to get completely lost in the bookstore that we almost missed the start of the movie. Once the movie started my eyes never left the screen. I barely noticed the fact that my friend was sobbing for most of the movie. Given how heart breaking and exceptionally moving the film was, it was very surprising I wasn't doing the same.
The movie revolved around a young woman and her deaf family. The young woman is blessed to hear. As a singer and music lover, it was devastating to momentarily witness the harsh reality of one experiencing life without sound--the thought of not being able to listen to birds chirp, dogs bark, children scream, bands play live music, everyday conversations, inspirational speeches, the noisy traffic, the horn of a train or the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks.
1. Shift your focus.
When you are constantly seeking more or complaining about what is missing, change your focus to all that you have. Think of the many things often taken for granted like a healthy body, a warm bed, a glass of water, our ability to see, hear, taste and touch.
One of the reasons gratitude is so powerful is because it shifts us into straight into our heart space which allows us to let go and quieten the ego.
One of the most heart breaking moments of the film was when the father listened to the daughter sing by placing his hands on her throat. The characters leapt from the screen, enveloping the audience with vivid images and feelings of intensity that made the body quiver and the heart sing.
For the few seconds glimpse into what they experience on a daily basis was excruciating - it felt like the end of the world.
After two hours, we emerged from the darkness. My friend went to the bathroom and I patiently waited by the exit. My mind was foggy as I was completely entranced in the story.
Out of nowhere, tears started streaming down my face. To stop crying was not an option for the floodgates had opened. I swiftly reached for my sunglasses and put them on whilst hopelessly trying to stop the tears.
"Each tear is a poet, a healer, a teacher" --Rune Lazuli
We left the cinema to greet the grey, gloomy day once again. The emotions washed over me like a title wave. My entire body went limp like a flower wilting in the harsh sunlight.
My hands trembling uncontrollably and my head was spinning. Feeling faint, I fell to the ground on the concrete in the middle of the street. My friend held my hand and hugged me tight.
2. Demonstrate your sincere gratitude.
Every week, demonstrate your sincere gratitude to people in your life by writing them a personal gratitude letter or poem or doing a random act of kindness. Research from Harvard Business Review concurs proving greater levels of life satisfaction.
This poignant movie touched me at the core of my being - the depths of my soul. My heart beating faster as my breathing intensified, swimming in the ocean of gratitude, love and sincere appreciation for this magical moment; the life I have lived and people I love.
This movie gave me a thousand times the level of appreciation and gratitude for my life. I believed I had reached a profound and sincere level of appreciation and gratitude not visualizing for a second that I could move to a deeper level.
The secret to gratitude is 'intensely feeling' it.
This day is deeply ingrained in my heart forever having taken my relationship with my best friend to another stratosphere at an emotional level.
3. Recognize love, lessons and blessings in life.
On a daily basis, seek to find and appreciate the love, lessons and blessings you have. Allow the gratitude to wash over your body and feel it in your heart.
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." - William Arthur Ward.
Perhaps, the gratitude I felt on this day was due to my untrammeled imagination, complex emotions or an unknown level of sensitivity - all I know is that what I felt was pure gratitude from the heart that filled me with immense joy.
For these magical moments make you feel so deeply that you know you are truly alive. This is when you experience gratitude on the grandest scale, enough to fill the world's largest canyon - Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru.
For success arrives for those who have a heart full of appreciation and gratitude for those memorable moments in life that take your breath away.