Rediscovering the power of gratitude
We explore the power of the mind and the meaning of gratitude through a four-week course at Nature Care College.
“What does gratitude mean to you?” The question buzzed around my mind throughout my first session of the Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Wellness course at Nature Care College. For the rest of the day, I pondered the question … What is gratitude and what does it mean to me?
I kept coming back to my course instructor Emma Gray’s words that “things happen for us, not to us.” I sat in my home office embarking on the second week of lockdown, and as I pondered this statement, I felt the bitterness and frustration of the past few weeks slowly melt away. I nominated journaling as my 21-day gratitude practice to get the sea of thoughts out of my head and onto paper. And even in the midst of a pandemic, as my mental health spiralled and my emotions were in a constant state of flux, finding abundance began to come easily.
Once the seed was planted, it blossomed into a sense of purpose and contentment that appeared in almost every act of the day — upon waking, taking the dog for a walk around the block and cooking a nourishing winter breakfast. I began rising with the sun just to take in the beauty of first light; the ever-changing ombre hues, the crisp morning air, the feel of the sand beneath my feet as I strolled along the shoreline. Suddenly, waking early (I’m not at all a morning person) felt less like a chore and more a blessing.
A new perspective
I’m no stranger to mindfulness, having meditated regularly for the past few years, and currently an avid subscriber to the Calm app, but the Nature Care College course offered some new techniques and approaches to meditation. Despite feeling rather flustered by looming deadlines, a chaotic new kitten and the uncertainty of how the pandemic was to impact my life in the next few weeks (it’s mid-August at the time of writing), Emma’s guided meditations offered a safe, tranquil space to escape.
I began to open my mind to new forms of meditation that I hadn’t tried before, including loving-kindness meditation. Picture yourself standing with a loved one and wishing wellness, safety, love and abundance upon them. Then invite a few more loved ones into the circle and repeat. Continue to expand your circle until you are surrounded by the global population, wishing each and every one of them wellness, safety, love and abundance. The whole process may draw out a range of emotions; but in the end, it feels like a warm hug welcoming you home.
By class three, mindfulness was well and truly coming with ease. The week’s lesson was about self-acceptance and compassion — both of which have never been a strong point for me, but giving myself space and permission to breathe and just be was exactly what I needed.
The art of mindful living
The Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Wellness course will provide you with a toolkit to take your mindfulness practice to the next level. Whether you’re looking to improve your own personal rituals or start sharing the art of mindfulness with others through becoming a meditation coach or holistic practitioner, this course is a great guide to direct you on your journey. You will not only learn the mental benefits of mindfulness, but discover the science behind these practices and the physiological benefits and changes that follow. You’ll also learn how to unlock the power of the mind, curate a regular practice and suggest the right approach to mindful practices to different clients.
For those embarking on further education within the wellness space, Nature Care College offers multiple diplomas and certificates from meditation to holistic nutrition, herbal medicine and astrology, as well as plenty of one-off courses for those looking to increase their knowledge or simply dabble in the wellness space.
The choice of online or in-person sessions at the Sydney campus (COVID-dependent, of course) offers flexible study, and all online sessions have a live or pre-recorded option to suit your lifestyle. The interactive learning environment allows you to discuss ideas and open your mind to new perspectives from your fellow classmates so it truly feels like a community.
The course helped me to discover that gratitude is a mindset. It’s more than simply giving thanks and feeling content. It encapsulates a whole way of living and looking at things with greater awareness and acceptance. I’ve learned to live and accept life’s ups and downs and all the imperfections in myself and others — we are all human after all. I am able to find stillness and peace even in the most chaotic of times.
For more information, visit naturecare.com.au.