Notes on gratitude 50 for 50 #4
Back when I allocated my Home page to writing about gratitude, my intention was to go small. Not small in a way that downplayed gratitude’s importance, rather small in the way that acknowledged the profound joy in life’s simple treasures: beautiful flowers, fresh air, connection time. Every month for years, I met my dedication to that practice by highlighting moments, events, and gatherings of significance to my family and me. Many were small, and some were not. Then, last June, I got busy. Life got in the way, as life tends to do.
There’s been plenty to be grateful for every day between then and now, but without a ritual to ground my thinking in abundance my brain’s go-to set point is scarcity. What I haven’t done enough of. What problems aren’t fixed. It’s astonishing how easy it is to miss beauty in the sun dappling a room with a warm wash of light, or in an apple tingling a tongue with a crisp burst of flavor, or in a cat canoodling a face with a satin coat of fur.
Last week, I saw a flyer for this book on a rack at the Center for Spiritual Living in Camarillo where I’m taking a beginning mindfulness class. (More on the class later.) Perfect, I thought, over this bit of synchronicity. As part of my self-care journey, I’d wanted to resurrect a gratitude practice—the experience of gratitude as a verb—and I’d wanted to keep it simple. I returned home and ordered the book that night.
Inside, one page is dedicated to every day of the year—a few questions, a couple of lines to answer each question. Simple. Profound. I plan to share here my answers to questions on some of the pages, helpful reminders of what’s right all around me.
Here’s today’s page:
In two words, how do you feel right now?
Relieved and anxious
What are you grateful for today?
I’m grateful that I was able to go to my daughter and minister to her illness.
What can you learn from current challenges?
I can learn to slow down, pay acute attention to the present moment, take one task at a time as a way to prevent becoming overwhelmed.
How can you make today awesome?
I can make today awesome by completing this post and manifesting gratitude in my daily life.
What physical ability are you grateful for today?
I’m grateful for my ability to easily hop in my car and get to the store for medication I needed to heal my body.
A gratitude practice doesn't have to be time-consuming or involved. You don't need a special book. You don't need a set of questions. Or to write in complete sentences. You don't have to connect your gratitude to traditional religious beliefs. You may end up grateful at the end of the day for reasons other than when the day started. The point is to put action to your thoughts around gratitude. (That's the "practice" part.) Making gratitude real is a sure way to appreciate the "enough-ness" that surrounds us.
What a wonderful reminder to live in the present and to be mindful of the big and small events in life. Love those questions you answered, good to think about those every day! Mindfulness can be so simple, yet add so much to our lives and happiness!💜🌸
Being grateful for what one has, no matter how small, can be so uplifting and healing. Of course, we all have tough times to live through, yet even in hard times, being grateful for what's good in our lives can make things seems a bit brighter. From personal experience, I know that concentrating on what's wrong, when there is nothing I can do to change it, is soul-sucking. Being grateful for what is right in my life gives me hope and the courage to face the world, even in tough times. I know that practicing gratitude has made me a more content person.
Thanks for sharing, Tracey. There is so much to be grateful for.
Yes, Sue. I remember one time I posted something on Facebook that was about being grateful even in the face of really difficult experiences. A person who had experienced some form of abuse wrote an angry comment to the post. We don't have a choice about what happens to us, we always have a choice how to respond. I'm not suggesting I know what it feels like to experience abuse. But there is always a choice. I learned that lesson the hard way with my family's own tough experiences. It took a long time, and was painful to admit the truth of it. Thanks for your lovely comment, Sue.
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