As I reflect upon my own mindful gratitude practice and gather resources to reboot my Mindful Gratitude workshop, I am continuing to explore the work of Brother David Steindl-Rast. The “Stop. Look. Go.” practice is one of the new tools I found and wanted to share. It is an informal practice that happens in the comings and goings of daily life and takes only a few minutes and some reflection. Here are the three parts:
1.) Stop. This alone is a quite valuable practice. We live in a culture that is all productivity, rush and noise. Can we take a moment and be still? What benefits might we experience if we do? In Steindl-Rast’s words, we need to create “stop signs” in our lives that create a pause and be still.
Take a moment and reflect: where might you create a stop sign in your own life? What cue will you use as a reminder?
2.) Look. Be curious about your own experience in this moment. What do you see? Hear? Feel? For what can you experience a sense of gratitude? You don’t need to manufacture anything, and if something quite difficult is happening, there is no reason to try and change it. Perhaps you just remember that you are alive. That you are breathing. That there is no moment exactly like this moment.
3.) Go. What seed for action is this moment offering you? Living is an art that you create as you go. How can you make it beautiful for yourself? For others? Ask yourself these questions and wait patiently for an answer. When you get one, do it, act on the insight that comes from your own intuition and reflection.
Need inspiration to start this practice? Here is a beautiful video from gratefulness.org’s website.
Did happened when you took a moment to stop, look, go? What did you find? Please share your thoughts below.
Opening the first page of a new notebook,
blank space soon to be filled
beginning again, pen to paper,
poised to fill the pages
When I began my daily mindfulness practice a year and a half ago, I also began daily journals reflecting upon my practice and my life experiences. These books have become some of my most beloved possessions. I have used them in my writing to capture a moment in time that has passed, and I have used them to gain a new perspective when I was unsure which way to more forward.
They are a record written in my most personal moments, and yet strangely, they are also a source of objectivity for me. There are moments when I go back and review the pages to find kernels of wisdom I need at the present moment or to gain a sense of “what it was really like” when I feel like a time was particularly “good” or “bad” in my life.
My journaling has changed over time. My research on the benefits of gratitude evolved my writing to include more positive experiences. In short summary, individuals with a gratitude practice have more positive emotional experiences overall and live seven to nine years longer on average (Graham).