Just Like the Dalai Lama, Kindness is My Religion

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I was raised Catholic. Not very Catholic, but I was baptized and we went to church every so often. After my confirmation, our church visits became less and less frequent, until they were only at Christmas and Easter, and then none at all. I have often wanted to go back to church – it’s been a sort of yearning I’ve felt, like as if something was missing in my life; a hole that needed to be filled. My mum always wanted me to get my daughter baptized, and although I wanted to please her, I felt conflicted about baptizing my daughter into a religion where I fundamentally disagreed with many of the values and teachings.

Over the years I have toyed with the idea of attending other churches, but the thought of it always seemed daunting, and part of me always felt like I was betraying my mum by attending another church. That may seem silly, but religion is a funny thing.

So instead of testing new churches and religions, I turned to my own religion of gratitude. PS – After I wrote this post, I found out that the Dalai Lama also has a famous quote about his kindness religion. He says: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness”. We must be very similar 😉

Anyway, practicing gratitude consistently (as in, on a daily basis) has helped me to lead a more positive and fulfilling life. People who know me probably think I don’t need to be any more positive than I already am, as I’m sure it comes off as annoying to some. But I am a happier, kinder and more generous person when I focus on gratitude, and I see nothing wrong with that, in fact I wish others would follow suit.

Practicing gratitude has also been especially important for me as I am navigating my way through this difficult season after losing my Mum. Many people turn to religion when they lose a loved one, or experience trauma or grief. Me, I turned to gratitude. It has helped me deal with my grief, and despite everything, it has helped me stay positive.

Here is my daily gratitude routine:

Wake up.

Write down 3 things I am grateful for (this can instantly change my grumpy morning mood!)

Go about my day (and try to pay attention to the little things that make life sweet).

Write down 7 more things I am grateful for from that day (not big things like “I’m grateful for my family and friends” – little things like “I’m grateful for how perfectly spicy my Chai tea latte was from Starbucks this morning”, or “I’m grateful for the beautiful changing leaves on the tree outside my house”).

Go to bed feeling happy. 

*NOTE: I also write down my life goals and to-do list for the day. I’ve included this in the template below. Check out this post about goal setting, and how that has changed my life!

That’s it! It’s really pretty simple, but this small act makes all the difference in the world. And the great thing is that once you start noticing all the smaller things to be grateful for, they will start popping up more and more!

The other great thing about this is that there is no fancy formula, or special journal or program you need to buy in order to get started. If you would like to use the template I use, I’ve attached the PDF here! But you can write your lists down on a regular old journal or notepad or scrap of paper! Whatever you choose, I strongly recommend writing it down (as opposed to just thinking it or typing it out on your phone or computer), because I think there is something about the physical act of writing the words that inherently makes you feel your gratitude more strongly.

Leave a comment to let me know if you practice gratitude, how it has impacted you, and what your routine looks like!

With love and gratitude,

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this post!
    I recently lost my Mum and Dad which is making this holiday season hard. I am working at changing my mindset by practicing gratitude. Thank you for coming into my life at the right moment!

    1. Oh Jen I’m so sorry to hear this. I know the pain all too well, and I’m so glad this post was helpful. Don’t forget to give yourself permission and space to grieve when you need to- it will help you heal. I hope you’ll find that focusing your energy on gratitude will help you find peace, especially during the holidays!

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