What you think, you become
What you feel, you attract
What you imagine, you create.
My family and I live what I call an indigo life. A life lived deeply in gratitude. One that is rich, wild, and abundant. I would love to say we have always lived this way, but like most of you, this kind of life sometimes takes work and definitely requires daily practice.
Before living a life of abundance, we were always ok, but not very mindful of being thankful. We spent a lot of time going through the motions of life. Sleep. Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat. Then, about five years ago we went through a tumultuous time with my wife’s family. We were in the process of buying the family business and there was discord among the family members. Every day was an emotional roller coaster for us. Hurtful words were spoken and relationships were severed. This went on for two years. For two years we cried, yelled, took it out on each other, but mostly felt raw. We were devastated. We tried to move forward and find joy, but neither of us knew what that looked like or how to go about getting it back into our life. We got a puppy and then took a vacation, but there was something still missing.
By Thanksgiving that second year I was desperately looking for a reason to be grateful. I was searching for something to keep my heart from closing. I found the inspiration to create a gratitude tree in my front yard. There was a young oak tree with small, low branches. I put up a cardboard sign, threw some tags and markers into a old tool box, and made my puppy pose by the tree for a photo. Every day I would make my way out the tree and write down one to five things I was grateful for and then hang the tags on the tree. My neighbors took notice and they started to add grateful tags to the tree as well. Soon, there were several tags of thanksgiving blowing in the breeze.
It wasn’t easy for me. At a time when I didn’t have anything positive to think or say, it was difficult to come up with something meaningful. Some days it would be as simple as I was grateful for toothpaste so my teeth wouldn’t rot. That was enough. I started to notice a shift in my attitude and big waive of relief came over me.
I wasn’t really surprised in my attitude adjustment. After all, I knew enough to know that energy flows were you put your attention. However, what shocked me the most was that I had sparked a movement and didn't even realize it. The next year came and I was being asked to put up the gratitude tree again by my wife, friends and neighbors. The answer to my own pain had also helped others find their own joy.
I started to see things differently. What I began to noticed in my relationships was that when I interacted on a negative level, the other person usually followed suit, leading us no where good. When I approached my interactions with others with a grateful heart, I made better connections, and built better relationships. In turn, they started to live with a grateful heart too. You are who you hang around.
Since that time I have gone on to become a life coach, making it my mission to help others find their indigo life. Being a field guide for life has also helped keep me accountable because I firmly believe I have to live it in order to give it. I want my family to keep living an indigo life especially as it grows.
A life lived in gratitude became a value for us when we realized we didn’t want to be surrounded by negativity any longer. We felt happier and more at peace when we stayed mindful about our words and actions, and from my gratitude tree experience, that behavior was contagious.
This way of living became especially important about a year and half ago when our son was born. We want to raise him with a grateful heart, and it’s important to set the example for him. Children are sponges, soaking up language, energy, and meaning. He is influenced by what we say and it’s important to us that we model the habit. Even though he can’t communicate with words quite yet, we ask him what he is thankful for and we tell him what we are thankful for. It’s become a family ritual. We look forward to the day he can use his words to tell us.
Today, when schedules allow, we take daily walks with our dog and son. Naturally, the conversation starts with events of the day. Sometimes it turns negative. but then one of us will stop and say, what are you grateful for today? Then it turns to our blessings and our time together as a family feels stronger.
Another tool we use as a family and one that I use for my clients is called the Living Space tool. When we start to feel we are moving away from our indigo life, it’s a good indication we need to do some clearing. There is a philosophy that states our outer world reflects our inner world. Meaning, the state of our homes, work places and other spaces is a direct reflection on where our mental state is.
In order for us to keep living a grateful life, our minds need to be free of mental baggage and focused on staying mindful. The tool is simple. Clear your space, clear you mind.
Here is how it works.
- Think of a space in your home that you don’t like. It may be a drawer, a closet, or an entire room. Make a list of what you don’t like about this room. How does it make you feel when you are in that space? Notice any body sensations such as anxiousness, etc.
- Next, think of a space in your home that you love. Again, make a list of what you love about it and how it makes you feel to be in that space.
- Now clean, declutter, reorganize, paint it, remodel, etc the space you don’t like so it reflects the space in your home you do love.
You might notice that something you have had negative thinking around suddenly changes. Or a problem you have suddenly has a solution. This supports the minimalist mindset. Keeping around unwanted things in your life blocks you from joyful living.
Although we celebrate gratitude all year, November is especially important for us. We still set up a gratitude tree and have encouraged others to do the same. There are gratitude trees in several states across the nation this year. Grateful living has really helped us and those around us focus on being present in our lives. Showing up and living in the moment rather than sitting in fear or worry about the past or future. It’s enough. What we have today is enough. I am grateful for Kate and Melissa and all the families that are a part of the Cohesive Home community.