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Grounded in Gratitude

November 24, 2019 0 Comments

Grounded in Gratitude

Grounded in Gratitude

by Moriah Simmons


Every year around harvest time, I think about gratitude more often. I see the produce at the market think about how much I have, and how bountiful nature is. It’s very easy for me to intellectually know that, but for me, in both my healing and magical practices, a concept isn’t fully real to me until I feel it in my body, and I can interact with it in the physical world. So I wanted to share some of the ways I work with gratitude to feel it in my body, and bring it into the world.

First, let’s talk about gratitude.

I had been taught the uplifting effects of a morning gratitude practice by one of my meditation teachers years ago. This is a simple practice, where each morning you write down five specific things that you are grateful for. It gives you a boost right there in the moment, and keeps you feeling happier throughout the day. Gratitude practices have even been shown in studies to improve sleep, mood, fatigue, inflammation, and cardiac function.

I did this for a while, writing down five gratitude items each morning, and it was pretty interesting. I definitely felt happier when I did it. But it was hard to keep the practice going. It felt like a chore, like something I did because I knew it was supposed to be beneficial, not because I really connected with it.

My gratitude practice was mind-only, and so it started skewing into abstract territory. Where I could either go too big or too small with how I felt. Once I got started, sometimes I felt like I could think of a thousand things that I’m so grateful for, and I didn’t want to leave anything out.

Sometimes I felt begrudging like, ugh I guess I’m grateful I woke up today but I don't really feel it.

Some of the disconnect between gratitude and me definitely comes from my past. In the culture I grew up in, (middle class American white protestant), kids were told to be grateful in the same tone they were told to sit down and shut up. “Be grateful,” meant “be subservient.” Know your place, which is less-than.

Being told to be grateful like that was a way of putting someone down. “You should be grateful you have any job/money/home/friends/food at all!” Like you owe the world or other people some repayment or debasement, or obedience in exchange. It took me a while to learn, but they were using the wrong word. That’s not gratitude.

True gratitude isn’t about exchange, or a power imbalance. It’s about love, pleasure, and appreciation. Gratitude occurs in relationships of mutual respect, for gifts freely given. Whatever you experience in life that feels truly good, was given to you freely, out of love and respect. Even in the cases where it’s something you did for yourself.


autumnal vegetables

Autumnal vegetables at harvest. Recognizing the abundance of life giving food we have is one way we can show gratitude this season, and always.


Another important experience I have with gratitude is from my intention-setting work. When setting an intention, or doing manifestation work, it’s important to feel gratitude for the good things on the way to you. If you’re manifesting a new job, more self-love, or a hot date, holding a grateful feeling helps it to come to you with ease and grace. Gratitude opens your heart to receive. You’re not trying to force anything to happen, and you’re not begging the universe. You’re ready, willing, and grateful, because that manifestation is already here. Connecting to those feelings, and really embodying them, was a powerful moment that showed me the link between manifestation, meditation, and basic everyday life.

The best way to feel gratitude is taking pleasure in what you’ve received. 

The best way to show gratitude is to take action, through your body, and in the world. 

The best time to show gratitude is every day, it many little ways.

First you feel gratitude in your body, and you use your body to express how you feel.

What I’ve developed is a practice of grounding my gratitude, so that I can really feel it in my body, and in the way I interact with the word. Agan and again, my experience as a healer and witch leads me back to the body, to the present, to the mundane, as the most important place to practice spiritual concepts. 

When gratitude takes root in your body, it’s easier to hold it in your mind, which influences your actions. And the magic of gratitude ripples outward from there.

This involves some body exercises as well as some really concrete ways to act on gratitude. 

If you feel something, and you put action toward it, you are actually putting more of that feeling into the world. The universe is like a fishbowl that everyone swims in. I personally would love to have some more gratitude dumped into our water, rather than almost any other feeling. 

Sounds good? Ready to try it out? Here’s how to take gratitude deeper than the mind.


Grounded Gratitude Practice Steps:

  • Write out a few things that you’re grateful for.
  • Pick one thing to focus on for now.
  • Read aloud (or sign or rewrite) the gratitude item you’re focusing on
  • Notice where you feel it in your body.
  • Place your hands on that area of your body, say thank you thank you thank you.
  • Feel your words sink into your body. Feel that area glow.
  • Are there any ancillary feelings that come up, when you connect to this item?
  • Tune into each feeling, thank it for providing dimension to your gratitude.
  • Then ask your body, what action is the best way to express your gratitude?
  • Your body will guide you with a feeling of excitement towards a particular action. (I’m also including some suggestions for gratitude actions below.)
  • Do the action!

Then reflect, or journal again. How does this practice inform your original feeling of gratitude? Does it feel different, when you bring it into your body, and into action?

This practice is something you can do once a week, or every day. You can choose the same gratitude item over and over, or switch to a new one every time. Do whatever feels best for you. And see how your life begins to change, as you connect to the power of gratitude.


Here’s an example of my own gratitude practice:

  • I write down a list of a few things I’m grateful for, that really bring me joy. My mom, my partner, my work, my home, my dog.
  • The one that stands out is: “I’m grateful for a loving connection with my mother.”
  • I read that statement out loud, and notice where I feel it in my body.
  • I feel the gratitude for my mom in my heart, it’s a feeling of happiness for all the time I’ve had with her. I also feel it in my spine, a feeling of support from behind. I feel joy that she’s in my life. And tied in with gratitude is a little bit of sadness for the family members I’ve lost, and of knowing that someday death will part me and my mom. So I thank the sadness, for showing me how much I value my mom, and my family. I thank the sadness for offering depth to my gratitude. And then the sadness feels much smaller, when it’s being held by the bigger feeling of gratitude.
  • I place my hands over my heart, and say thank you thank you thank you to the gratitude again.
  • I wiggle my spine from side to side, saying thank you thank you thank you. Thank you for the support, for the sadness, for the joy, for the gratitude.
  • And then I ask my body, what can I do, that is an expression of the gratitude I feel for my connection with my mom?
  • Uh, call her, obviously! My heart is excited to get to hear her voice. (Hi mom!)
  • And I reflect, that I wasn’t expecting sadness to show up here. But I’m glad it did, because it’s part of life too, and it only makes my time with my mom feel even more special.


Ways You Can Practice Gratitude

Gratitude for people:

  • Tell them you love them
  • Spend quality time together
  • Check in on them regularly
  • Have healthy boundaries with them
  • Ask questions, and really listen
  • Say hello to people you don’t know, when you’re out and about


Gratitude for a pet:

  • Thank them for being your animal friend
  • Speak to them kindly, tell them all the things you love about them
  • Give them good food and water
  • Keep their bowls and bedding clean
  • Groom them regularly - brush fur, teeth, shell, etc
  • Take them to the vet on schedule

Gratitude for money:

  • Tune in with a feeling of gratitude whenever you pay a bill or buy something
  • Tell the money in your bank account that it’s doing a good job
  • Thank your paycheck for all the things it lets you do
  • Write “thank you” on paper money
  • Share money consciously:
  • Donate to people and causes you believe in
  • Tip as much as you can, when you can, on all services you receive
  • Putting money back into small businesses you love, rather than faceless corporations


Gratitude for food:

  • Holding your plate, saying thank you to all of the foods that are giving you life
  • Pause between bites, say thank you as you feel the food move towards your stomach
  • Pat your stomach as you digest, thank the food for absorbing into your system
  • Minimize waste - buy and cook only as much as you will use before it spoils
  • Compost scraps - many cities have compost pickup, or an option to drop it off at a farmers market or park. Or if you have outdoor space, consider starting a compost bin.


Gratitude for health:

  • Look at all of the things that are going right with your body: Your heart is beating, lungs work, eyes can focus, thumbs can scroll, etc.
  • At the end of each day, thank your body for getting you through
  • Take your body outside regularly
  • Give your body food and water, and thank it for digesting so well
  • Let your body feel all kinds of pleasure. Touch a soft fabric, smell a flower, take a long shower, masturbate or have good sex
  • Thank even the parts of your body that are symptomatic or painful, if that feels like an option for you


Gratitude for home:

  • Say hello to your house when you arrive after a day out
  • Keep your home tidy, and thank it for holding your things
  • Thank your house before you go to sleep, for keeping you safe
  • Thank your roof whenever it’s cold, rainy, or hot, for giving you shelter from the weather
  • Thank your walls for giving you privacy


Gratitude for earth:

  • Adopt a tree or a patch of earth near your home, and commit to picking up trash, watering the tree, and caring for the space.
  • Get to know the plants that grow near your home, especially the weeds, and thank them for their medicine
  • Notice your local wildlife, thank them for sharing space with you

    gratitude heart trees






    Moriah Simmons has her BA in English Literature, is a certified Reiki Master Teacher, Life Coach through Institute for Integrative Hypnosis, and Akashic Records Practitioner, and she loves listening to plant biorhythms translated into music!


    Read more on astrology, horoscopes, occultism, magick & ritual on our blog, Esoteric Insights!

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