October 2, 2016

The Simple Question from a Buddhist Monk that Cut to my Core.

thankful grateful


“What are you grateful for today?” asked a Buddhist monk who sat next to me on the flight to Bangkok.

Having exchanged a basic polite conversation about how I enjoyed the Chiang Mai lantern festival, I was slightly startled by this question—but what a beautiful thing to ask and be asked!

“I am grateful for many people and things in my life!” I immediately started naming all that I have in my life which I am immensely grateful for (my family, friends, my health, the choices I’ve made in my life that helped me to learn and become a better person).

“No, no, but what are you grateful for about you?”

“About me? What do you mean?”

I asked even more startled at this direct and quite personal question. Monk or not, you just don’t share such personal details with a random stranger. I paused and started thinking about myself, my life, how I’ve lived it thus far and what kind of person I am. I smiled, slightly apprehensively, not being sure if I could answer this in a complete honesty. The monk looked at me with the most beautiful, angelic face, full of kindness and compassion, still waiting for my answer.

“I guess, my determination…my heart, my generous spirit and the love I have for the world around me.”

“And what else?” He was determined to get more from me as if he was fishing for something specific.

“I guess my adventurous spirit and courage to pursue my dreams.”

Wow! I never even thought it would feel so good to say it out loud.

“Why?” I asked with a slight anticipation of some profound lecture to come from a Buddhist monk himself. “Just checking if you said your gratitude to yourself today,” he replied with almost Godly charm and an immense presence. He looked me straight in my eyes and I knew instantly what his eyes were telling me.

“It’s your truth, don’t be afraid to own it.”

This knocked on my soul so loud that I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.

I was almost disappointed that I didn’t get an extensive lecture from him. Only to realize later that the few words he said to me, have shaken me to the very core that day.

I wanted to share this short story as it got me thinking, really thinking about the whole subject of Self-love and Self-gratitude.

We do so much for others and so often put ourselves last. The simple yet powerful words we offer with such ease to others “Well done” or “Thank you,” rarely point in our own direction.

And so, I would like to invite you to change this, to use these beautiful words to empower your own beautiful Self!

You deserve to hear those sweet words too.

So, instead of that negative self-criticism that can so easily and quickly poison our mind, let’s try few powerful words of self-gratitude instead:

Well done for XYZ.

Thank you for trying again, I’ve learned and am one step closer to getting it right.

I am grateful to have me.

I am grateful for my ambition and drive to be a better person.

I am grateful for my willingness to open my mind and heart to learn.

I am grateful for the hunger to succeed and serve others.

I am grateful for my heart that lights up the lives of those around me.

I guess, I’ve just had the most profound lesson in self-love and gratitude straight from the Buddhist monk. Self-love is something that we are not thought in any school and yet this is as fundamental and necessary in our lives as the food and water. The world around us is quick to tell us that we are doing something wrong or are not in line with their expectations, which can often throw us off balance and muddy our own worth.

Self-love is something that we are not thought in any school and yet this is as fundamental and necessary in our lives as the food and water. The world around us is quick to tell us that we are doing something wrong or are not in line with some expectation.

But to be clear, I am not talking about ego-driven self-love; I am referring to the most innocent, genuine and sincere self-love that is with us always. Imagine yourself as an innocent newborn baby without any judgment, labels, beliefs, and definitions towards yourself of the world around you. In this state of pure innocence, we are able to feel genuine love, peace, and joy as well as gratitude for our own being.

And when our own cup is filled with love, it’s much easier for us to spread that beautiful energy of love with the world around us.

So, let me ask you a question: What are you grateful for about yourself today?

“Take care how you speak to yourself, because you are listening.” ~ Anonymous

My Mind-Body-Soul Ritual

In the same way we feed our Body, we should also remember to feed our minds and souls each day to feel whole, happy and nourished from the inside out. Since I started practicing daily choices through morning meditations, daily exercise and eating raw food, I found it much easier to control my own self-talk and focus on my goals more easily.


Daily morning meditation to make my choices on what I want to achieve that day, that month and longer term, to help me stay focused.

Examples of my daily choices that empower me:

I choose the end result of living my true nature, passion, and purpose.

I choose the end result of being healthy.

I choose the end result of being the greatest creative force in my life.

I choose the end result of a beautiful loving relationship.


I choose to nourish my body with the healthiest nutritious raw breakfast (I love grapefruits and mangoes). I also practice yoga or some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.


I go through my daily affirmations to re-affirm to myself who I am and what’s important to me at the soul level. This helps me to protect my spirit from negative influences during the day, stay connected to myself and stay more balanced throughout the day.

Examples of my core choices and affirmations are:

Everything I want comes to me with ease and grace.

I can do anything and anything is possible.

I am grateful for pursuing my dreams with love, drive, and ambition which ignites my soul.

I honour myself, my dreams and aspirations.


Here are some books that inspired me on my journey to self-love:

I have read some incredibly beautiful books that helped me tap into my own infinite source of love and gratitude and I thought to share them here to inspire your reading list, should you choose to.

Marrianne Williamson, A Woman’s Worth.

David R. Hamilton PhD, I Heart Me: The Science Of Self-Love.

Gala Darling, Radical Self-Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dreams.





Author: Monika Burzova

Image: elephant journal 

Editor: Renée Picard

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