Happy New Year! Here at the Pachamama Alliance office in San Francisco, our team spent time last week reflecting on last year and the one to come. We agreed that something we'd all like to work on is celebrating, acknowledging, and cultivating gratitude.
If you're caught up in 2019 resolutions that are focused on fixing what's wrong with you, or what's wrong or the world, take three minutes to watch this video that gives you 5 reasons to be optimistic about the year to come.
Cultivating a daily gratitude practice doesn't just encourage positivity and celebration, it also keeps you present and invites joy into your life.
Jack Canfield, Pachamama Alliance supporter and originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, offers 6 daily habits for a gratitude practice that will attract more joy, more reasons to be grateful. And of course, Pachamama Alliance Co-founder Lynne Twist believes strongly that what you appreciate appreciates, an idea she shared with Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday.
Brené Brown, another person who's appeared on Super Soul Sunday, believes strongly that there is no joy without gratitude. But also that joy can be terrifying because letting joy in means becoming vulnerable to disappointment and sorrow, to losing that joy:
“When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding."
This is part of why we end up with New Year's resolutions that are not about joy. It feels safer to focus on the negative, on things we don't like about ourselves or the world, than to open ourselves up to the possibility of something wonderful. It may even be the case that our brains have been evolutionarily hardwired to focus on negative experiences and outcomes so that we can avoid them in the future.
If you feel yourself writing down the same self-improvement "to-do" list for 2019, we invite you to watch the 5 Reasons for Optimism video and to step back and celebrate the joy of being alive in 2019.
(And for even more resources to explore the idea and practice of gratitude, check out A Network for Grateful Living, an organization founded by Brother David Steindl-Rast and designed to support people in living with more gratitude. In particular, the blog article Ten True Things About Gratefulness: A Conversation with Kristi Nelson explores some nuanced tenets of gratitude you may not have considered before.)