A friend and I recently started a great exercise from the book “40 Days Of Miracles”.
Basically, every day we write to each other with what we’re grateful for. That includes positive AND negative feelings, with the point of the exercise being to eventually realize that feelings are just feelings… not “negative” or “positive”.
I’ve had a great experience so far. The creator of the exercise, Melody Beattie, says that she’s seen amazing things happen too.
One of my favorite parts of the exercise is that it only takes 10 minutes a day and the payoff potential is huge.
To implement this yourself, here’s my best summation of how to do it:
1. Read the book Make Miracles In 40 Days. It’s very short, available on Kindle, and will give you a lot more perspective. I devoured the whole thing in less than 2 hours.
I’m doing my best to give you a summary, but you’ll have a much bigger vantage point if you read the book.
2. Make a list of goals you want to achieve in your life. You don’t need to share this with anyone, but just get clarity on some of the things you’re wanting to create.
As you do this 40 Day exercise, the premise is that miracles will start happening for you and things will start getting checked off your goal list.
Your goal list can be on whatever you want, but it’s also recommended to mention releasing resentment and/or forgiving certain people in your life that you haven’t been able to do so with yet.
3. You’ll need a partner for this.
Here are partner criteria:
- This should be someone you’re not too close with (you’re going to need to feel safe to be VERY vulnerable).
- You and your partner must commit to NOT being judgmental (more on this in a minute).
- You and your partner need to commit to doing this for 40 days. You can work out if you want to do weekends or not (I personally do – I like the routine of it). If you cannot commit, please don’t waste the other person’s time.
The partner selection process is crucial. If you don’t feel safe with your partner, this whole exercise is worthless.
4. Every day, for 10 minutes a day, list out the things you’re grateful for. The author recommends writing the list within 30 minutes of waking up, but it’s not essential.
My friend and I do this via email and that’s what I recommend.
Start out your list with:
Today I’m grateful for:
…and then list things.
As you list each item, breathe into each of the feelings that come up and really allow yourself to feel them (especially the negative emotions).
Again – this doesn’t need to be for only positive things. You should also list any emotions you’re carrying around that you don’t like, think are bad or wrong to feel, are resisting, pretending aren’t there, etc.
Some examples of things you can feel gratitude on are:
“I feel grateful for feeling extremely angry at my best friend who stood me up last night.”
“I feel grateful for hating my boss with the fire of a thousand suns. I feel grateful for finding him to be a complete waste of life, useless, and only in his position because he’s a family friend.”
“I feel grateful for feeling shame around my weight. I feel grateful for feeling absolutely disgusting and mortified at the idea of someone seeing me naked.”
If something comes up and you want to create another list that same day, feel free.
4b.You’re going to need to allow yourself to be vulnerable. It’s not easy to admit a lot of these things, but feeling them is the first step to releasing them.
As my friend Ariana Hall says, “The insides want to get outside.” And if you let yourself feel what you don’t want to feel, it will help those feelings move through your body and release.
Another note on this – Annie Lalla, someone I find brilliant, mentions that a lot of people try to be “happy”. Happiness is fleeting. You can’t feel happy all the time. She suggests that instead of trying to feel happy, optimize for feeling ALIVE. Alive can include anger, frustration, shame, whatever… but it’s always a lot better than numb.
Also – did you know that if you allow yourself to fully feel an emotion, it processes through your body in no longer than 10 minutes? That’s a scientific fact.
Let yourself to feel through these emotions so that they don’t stay stuck in you and you find yourself swirling in them years later.
4c. In the beginning of this exercise with your partner, it’ll feel tough to go mega vulnerable first.
If something is TOO personal, you don’t need to say it. That’s totally fine.
But I recommend you dig deep and go a little bit outside of your comfort zone. By you getting vulnerable first, that will allow your partner to feel more comfortable, which will allow you to both get a LOT more from the exercise.
The exercise isn’t meant to be easy. It’s meant to help you GROW. (But I promise it does get easier in time.)
5. You are never, ever, ever allowed to comment on the other person’s list unless they explicitly ask you to.
You also may not pass judgment or show judgment in any way, shape, or form.
In the book, Melody (the author) mentions how her partner was talking about eating disorders and other wildly unhealthy things. Melody never made a comment. You need to let your partner have a safe space to release their darkest feelings. You need to trust them to sort them out unless they explicitly ask for help.
Your role as partner is to share your gratitude and then also be a SAFE SPACE FOR THE OTHER PERSON TO SHARE – nothing else.
I can’t emphasize that enough.
ALSO: If you don’t have a partner and want me to help you find one, I will do my best to do so. Leave a comment here and I’ll intuitively match up people. But please ONLY comment if you’re willing to perform everything I mentioned here and are ready for massive change in your life. :)