Living in Gratitude

There’s a big difference between having “an attitude of gratitude” & living in gratitude.

Today’s episode shines the light on this distinction thanks to Vismaya Rubin, Founder of Living in GRATITUDE Today. 

This PARKer & “Gratitude Gangsta” is on a mission to strengthen people’s gratitude muscle so we can all experience more love, joy & prosperity in our lives.


Click here to Join Living in GRATITUDE Today Movement and receive your FREE Gratitude Monthly Calendar. If you’re in the United States, you can also text the word GRATEFUL to 64600 


Hi PARKer, I’m Marly Q and welcome to Episode 13 with Vismaya Rubin. Have you ever met a “gratitude gangsta”? Well, you’re about to! Our guest today is the founder of Living in GRATITUDE Today, and not only is she a PARKer, like us, she’s a gratitude gangsta on a mission to strengthen people’s gratitude muscles so that we could all experience more love, joy, and prosperity in our lives.

Vismaya is a three-time bestselling author who teaches people about the power of gratitude at both live and virtual events worldwide, she also coaches people on the benefits of a gratitude practice, how to start one and most importantly, how to maintain one during difficult times.

So, if you’re wondering if it’s possible to experience the difficult times we’re facing today and gratitude at the same time, let’s listen and find out.

[01:06] Welcome, it’s so nice to have you here virtually, thank you for making the time to be kind.

[01:11] Vismaya: It is my pleasure, my pleasure, I will do anything I can do to support you.

[01:17] Marly Q: You know, you were one of the first people when I shared that I was starting this podcast to say, “Hey, count me in if you’re going to do an interview format, I want to support and be a part of it.”, and here we are. So, thank you.

[01:28] Vismaya: You’re welcome. I absolutely love every post you put out, everything you do, you– I feel from everything you do. You’re just– you’re a ray of sunshine, and your posts are always so positive, and I missed you when you weren’t online. I was looking for you, I’m like, “Where’s my girl?”.

[01:48] Marly Q: Ah, my 100 days of self-care, social media detox.

[01:52] Vismaya: Yeah, I noticed, I was like, “Where is she?”.

[01:55] Marly Q: Oh, thank you for that. Thank you for missing me. I appreciate it. It’s so good to be back with, just kind of renewed and refreshed energy and have been able to redirect my focus and my time and my energy into creating this podcast and launching it. So, here we are and I’m so excited and grateful to have you here today because the topic is gratitude. And I want our PARKers listening to know why gratitude is your message and how you became a gratitude gangsta.

[02:27] Vismaya: So, I think I’ve always had a gratitude practice, I didn’t realize that it was a gratitude practice; I used to say I was lucky, I was really, I was lucky; that was the word I used. My mom is bipolar, and I grew up, you know, with a bipolar mother and my parents got divorced when I was three, but I always had these incredible experiences in my life. And maybe because my mother was bipolar, we had some pretty incredible things that happened and people always wanted to feel sad for, you know, sad for me or pity me or feel sorry for me and I remember, even as a little girl, that was not an option. So, I was like, “Are you kidding? I’m lucky. Look at all these things that happened to me and for me.”. So, I think I’ve always practiced gratitude, it wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that it was a gratitude practice, not that I was just lucky, and that really pushed me to do a lot of amazing things and have a lot of amazing experiences. And when I was teaching, character development was always very important for me and one of my last years teaching, my last few years, they had me teaching a writing class where before I was teaching about the Seven Habits of Highly Effective teens. And the last year I was teaching, we had to do evidence-based writing. So, I was like, “Alright, this is wonderful.”. So, I was teaching, or having my students read about the power of gratitude and the science behind gratitude, and they were keeping gratitude charts. So, if you ever tell a ninth grader, “Hey, you’re going to keep a gratitude chart.”, they’re going to look at you like you’ve lost your mind, and that’s basically what happened. So, the beginning, you know, first day of school, “Hey, we’re going to keep a gratitude chart, come up with 20 things that you’re grateful for by the end of the month, turn it in.”, and they were not happy in the beginning.

But fast forward, and it was probably, maybe February or March, we were having a discussion and I said– we were reading a story about two kids who had gotten into a gang and then they had gotten out and I said, “I don’t understand why people would be in a gang.”. And I’ll never forget, as long as I live, Alex looks at me and he says, “Miss, we’re gangsters. We’re gratitude gangsters.”, and my heart opens and then William chimes in, he goes, “Yeah”, he’s like, “We walk around and say to people, I like your shirt.”, and then they’re back and forth, “I like your shoes and I like your belt.”, and you know those guns, the ones that have the pop out flares? I’m like, “No guns.”, he’s like, “Miss, the ones that say, “Thank You”, because that’s what we carry around.”. So, in that moment, I realized that 15-year olds understood the power of gratitude. So, in the beginning, I got a lot of flak for calling myself a gratitude gangster, people were like, “You can’t say that. That’s not nice.”, but now I proudly say it.

[05:17] Marly Q: Nice. I love that story so much because, you know, ninth grade is such a, such a formative year, right? You’re not a middle schooler, but you’re still kind of like at the, you know, starting off in a high school and, maybe your focus as a ninth grader is, the furthest thing is, you know, gratitude. You’re like, “I’m just trying to exist here and figure out what it means to be in high school.”, and to have been able to create an environment for 15 year olds to be grateful, to practice gratitude, I’m sure was, you know, not just heart opening, you know, for you but for every single one of your students as well. What was the spark that had you, because that’s where– how we first met, as a teacher at my own alma mater. So, long ago, no need to date it. And I just remember ninth grade being a very formative year for me as well, where I started speaking up, I started, you know, leading meetings and being the president of the interact club and started finding my passion and my talent for creating events, and really kind of unifying people, kind of the start of my own journey as well. So, I just think that’s so important.

[06:32] Vismaya: I remember.

[06:33] Marly Q: What was the spark to you, like leaving teaching and starting your own business? Tell me about that.

[06:38] Vismaya: You know, I can’t sit in a classroom and tell kids to go for their dreams, to– that they can do anything they want to do and then not go for mine, and I knew that it was time for me to leave the system. And again, you know, I had to walk the walk, and I had to walk the walk if I was going to talk to talk and that was a big one for me and I did it for them and I did it for myself. Like, it was just kind of, it was time for me to go, and it was also again, you know, if I don’t do it now, when am I going to do it? If I don’t take a chance now, am I going to always look back and say, “I wish, what if, maybe.”? So, I said, you know, I got a jump and I took the jump and three years later, I’m very happy.

[07:25] Marly Q: Beautiful. Tell us about your business, about Living in Gratitude Today.

[07:30] Vismaya: So, Living in Gratitude Today, the idea is that regardless of what’s going on in life, we can find something to be grateful for. And it’s not the idea that everything is perfect every second of every day, because I don’t believe that and I believe that it’s a gratitude practice, not an attitude of gratitude, like you really get to work and you get to consciously look for those things. So, the idea is that, I have an online gratitude movement, and each week, we’re tapping into different ways that we can really look at gratitude or tap into that space of gratitude or practice gratitude. So, there are just different techniques that I read about or learn about. I do a lot of research on gratitude, and then I get to share them with my community. We have an online Facebook group, a private Facebook group, we have some meetings that are happening, where we’re really just building this idea of how do we strengthen that muscle, so that when we’re in different situations, we’re still able to see the juiciness and the deliciousness in it. And again, that doesn’t mean that we don’t experience sadness, or pain or frustration or any of those things, because we do, but how do you pull yourself out much quicker? And that’s through the practice of gratitude.

[08:45] Marly Q: Absolutely. I know that I always say, you know, kindness is your superpower and I believe gratitude is a superpower as well. And I know we’re on the same page about that.

[08:54] Vismaya: Absolutely.

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[09:27] Marly Q: And let’s get practical here, right? Because we always– we hear, you know, you should be grateful and this should be you know, your attitude of gratitude, like you said, but what I love about your work and your message and your mission is that you’re constantly reminding people it’s a practice, it’s a practice, you’ve got this great, you know, merchandise line with your T shirts, you’re always wearing your gratitude and your grateful shirts, I’m wearing mine today in your honor. What are some of your favorite practices that you share with folks your gratitude practice, if you can share with us?

[09:58] Vismaya: Absolutely. So, I think the first one is to wake up every day and declare that today is going to be a magical day, and what you’re doing is, you’re telling the universe, you’re telling the world, you’re telling yourself, “This is what I’m up to. This is what I’m expecting for today.”. So, that’s the first thing before I even get out of bed, “Today is going to be a magical day!”, even if I don’t believe it, I say it. And then the next thing I would say to somebody, if you have– if you don’t have a gratitude practice, we walk around with our cell phones, turn your cell phone on, have it go off every three to four hours, when the alarm goes off, pause, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “What are my gratitude wins? Who or what made a difference for me? What did I do for myself? Did I do something new or something nice for somebody and then what made me smile or laugh till my sides hurt?”. And here’s the beauty because it is a gratitude practice, not a gratitude perfect, you’re going to do this every three to four hours. So, if you don’t find something that you’re grateful for in that moment, it’s okay, give yourself a break. And it’s kind of like what you said, like, learning to be kind to yourself and this is also what this practice is about, be kind to yourself, if you don’t find something right now, that’s okay. Because you’re going to do it again.

[11:16] Marly Q: I love that, it’s not a gratitude perfect, it’s a gratitude practice. And sometimes when we hear you know, like, join this practice or join this challenge, we immediately want to perfect it, we want to be great at it and if we, you know, miss our gratitude practice assignment, we’re like, “We’re a failure. We didn’t do it.”, and we’re beating ourselves up, and that’s where the self-love and kindness comes in, right? And even in moments when we’re experiencing dark times or difficult emotions, even there, I mean, you started off by sharing, you know, a bit of your story, your parents divorcing at three, difficult situation, you know, growing up with your mom, you know, being bipolar; I’m sure there were several, you know, difficult situations or reasons to feel sad or feel confused or anxious. And yet, you’re still able to look around and say, “I’m lucky. Look at all this around me. Look at this beauty around me and look.”, but it is something that you need to practice seeing and the more we practice looking for things to be grateful for, the more things we have to be grateful for.

[12:14] Vismaya: Absolutely.

[12:15] Marly Q: And I know for me in any moment, you know, I wake up and I have my own gratitude practice as well. And for me, even in moments when I don’t feel like it, right? And I can’t genuinely find something that I’m like feeling grateful for, not just thinking grateful, right? Like, I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for, you know, the new day but really feeling grateful, I could always come back to, I feel really grateful for this breath. I think our breath is on anchor, right? Even when there’s nothing to be grateful for, in this moment, you are breathing and that breath is a gift, and that, if nothing else, is something to be grateful for in every moment. Would you agree?

[12:58] Vismaya: I do and I do love that practice because I think when you’re taking that deep breath, what it does is it brings you back to the present, it brings you back to your consciousness, your present– this present moment where you can start to then again, look. I have to, you know, I think, for me, what happens is that the more we practice gratitude, when times are great, the easier it is to see those magical moments when life is challenging. So, like you said, you take a deep breath, and it brings you back, I think what happens for me is that, what happens is when I’m in my crazy space, or in my mind, and it’s going– and running around, there’s a voice inside of my head that says, “Vismaya, you know, the universe has your back and you know that everything will work out.”, and that’s because that practice has been, it’s just part of who I am right now. It’s part of my being but that’s what makes it super easy for me.

[13:54] Marly Q: Yeah, that’s how it’s your default because it’s a lifestyle, it’s a practice and it might be difficult for some people at first, who don’t have that practice, right? Which is why I love that you’ve created this movement and this program to help people own their own gratitude practice because it looks different for everyone, right? A self-care and self-love and kindness practice looks different for everyone. People ask me for tips and advice on, you know how to be kinder to yourself, and we can give you tips and advice but at the end of the day, you need to know what works for you. The reason that my breath works for me every single time is because I grew up with chronic asthma, and every day as a little kid, I’d wake up and the first thing I’m doing is checking on my breath, am I breathing? And I would smile and say, “Thank you.”. It’s that simple; that’s why my breath always brings me back, you know, but for someone else, it’s looking at, you know, the sky and the sun and the clouds and that makes you realize that you’re part of this planet, right? This part of this huge you know, universe. I mean, whatever it is for you and you only find what gratitude practices work for you by practicing it and developing and strengthening that superpower. So, I really am a fan and a supporter of the work that you do, I think it’s powerful, I think it’s important. And I think that the time to be kind and grateful is now more than ever.

[15:14] Vismaya: Absolutely. We’re always asked the question, you know, “Are happier people grateful, or are grateful people happier?”, and I think what it always comes down to is when you practice gratitude, you’re ultimately happier. And when you’re happier, you’re more productive, you have greater relationships, you’re more connected to the people around you. So, I think that is one of the main reasons why I would absolutely encourage people to start a gratitude practice. There’s also research that shows that when you’re stressed out, your cortisol levels are really high and it’s all over your body and it takes about 24 hours for that cortisol level to go– to subside and when you practice gratitude, it releases the positive, the good feeling chemicals into the brain and that kind of counteracts the levels of cortisol. So, there are definitely scientific reasons, but I think the main reason is that even if you’re not into the science, it makes you feel good, right? People don’t wake up and say, “I want to be grateful.”, but they wake up and say, “I want to feel better. I want to feel happier. I want to feel connected to the people around me. I want to feel more productive. I want to feel excited about life.”, and that’s how you get that.

[16:28] Marly Q: I’m with you. Preach gratitude gangster, I’m with you. So, I know that you have a special gift for, you know, our PARKers listening, and anyone that visits livingingratitudetoday.com, if you need some ideas on how to practice gratitude in your own life, you’ve got a monthly calendar. I love this, right?

[16:51] Vismaya: I do. I put them together each month and it’s filled with– each day, there’s a different gratitude action step that you can take so that if you’re not feeling super grateful or excited you can do the action step and it creates this moment of gratitude for you. Some of them are things that you can do for yourself, some of them are things you could do for other people and if something works for you, continue to do it, if you like everything on the calendar, do them all.

[17:17] Marly Q: Awesome. I love it. Vismaya, thank you so much for making the time to be kind today and also your gifts to help us all practice more gratitude in our lives.

[17:24] Vismaya: It is my pleasure; I will say yes to anything you do.

[17:28] Marly Q: Thank you, big big virtual hugs.

[17:31] Outro: I hope you enjoyed making this time to be kind together today because living in gratitude allows the currency of kindness to flow into our daily lives and opens our hearts to connect with ourselves, each other and the world on a deeper level. Having a daily gratitude practice is key to experiencing more happiness, greater self-esteem, less stress and resilience, giving you the spark of light that you need to see your way through dark times. If you’re ready to start strengthening your gratitude muscle, just visit marlyq.com/13 to join Vismaya’s Living in Gratitude Today movement and get your free gratitude calendar too.

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