Gratitude in Action

Writing by Caity Fowler // Photograph by Lydia Grace

I’ve discovered a really awesome thing, which I call gratitude in action. I’ve used a gratitude attitude in the past and it has often changed my perspective on things. It helps me focus on what I have, not the opposite. However, change/transformation is the nature of life. What we have changes. Also, desire is a natural and important aspect of life. Desire is the seed of creativity. I was seeking balance between these two things, the creativity of desire, combined with the abundance and “Now” focus of gratitude. I’m calling this combined force gratitude in action.

These things came together for me on my yoga mat yesterday. Lately I’ve had difficulty in my home practice, partly because I’m going to begin teaching yoga, so I am trying to discern what elements of yoga I want to impart. I have been asking questions of my practice, like, “Why do I do this?” and “What do I get out of it?” So I went into my practice analysing, judging, scattered and restless. And at the end of practice, when I asked, “What did I get out of it?” the answer was analysis, judgement, scatteredness and restlessness.

It was then I realised I had been going about my practice, and my life, upside down and inside out. It’s basic karma, or Nutrigrain philosophy: “You only get out what you put in.” Or, as my meditation teacher says, “What you focus on is what you get,” and I’ve only heard that about a thousand times! When it comes to yoga practice and to life, I believe, “What you give is what you get.” And what you want, you need to give first. Furthermore, I realised I could use my desires as a map for how to do this.

What I wanted to get out of my yoga practice yesterday was focus, softness, and love, so it makes perfect sense that these are the things I needed to give my practice. Intention is everything; it creates our reality moment to moment. Whether we know it or not we are wielding this creative power every minute of every day. I have finally realised I can do this consciously to create the life I want.

I start by asking myself, “What do I want out of today?” Then (and this is the action part) I do not go out searching for those things, or wondering how I am going to get them for myself. When I search and focus on the “getting” part of the process, I am actually focussing my attention on the gap between myself and what I want—on the lack of what I have. If this is where I stay focused, what I end up with is a sense of lacking, or scarcity. With gratitude in action, I instead focus my attention on how I can give those things today to my life, to myself and to others.

When I focus on giving, I tap into my abundance, which means I dissolve the limiting stories about what I don’t have and I discover what I do have—which it turns out is everything. I also dissolve the beliefs that have been keeping me separate from what I desire and often find a different truth behind my desires. If, for example, I want to get more money, I am not necessarily going to give my money away. What I might consider is that if I want to receive generosity and prosperity from life, then I must give generosity and prosperity to my life. I must give generously of my time, my spirit, my heart. I must share what I do have, rather than focus on what I don’t.

I am taking the time to notice that what I want is all around me. It takes practice and sometimes it is harder than other times. Sometimes it can be very simple—if I want sweetness, then I notice the sweet fragrance of the air, or of somebody’s perfume, or of a handmade sweater, or a dog frisking in the park, or even the sweetness of a smile—maybe just my own.

You have two simple steps:

1. Ask, what do I want?

2. Give it with wild abandon.


Lydia Grace

Lydia is an 18-year-old girl born and bread in the tropics, but is now braving the cold English weather. She loves to make people feel beautiful through portrait photography and her heart comes alive when creating. You’ll find her where the flowers are. Follow her on Facebook, Flickr, her blog, and Instagram @lydia.grace.s.

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