When we talk gratitude we are talking about the act of truly being thankful. Thankful for the blessing we have in life: the simple pleasures, the gifts of nature, health, happiness, family, friends, etc. Gratitude shifts our focus from what we want to what we have. It allows us to look at the ready abundance of all that is great in our lives. When we are truly, truly grateful, and not just saying the words because heck it's Thanksgiving and it is what we are supposed to do. By truly being grateful there is a profound change in our attitude towards life. Truly giving thanks makes us happier, healthier and more resilient. It makes our relationships stronger and improves our overall health by reducing some stress in our lives.
We all sometimes take for granted the little things in our lives that someone else would and have given there lives for. Freedom, food, a place to live, an education, a bed to sleep in, clothes on our backs, etc. What about simple things others don't have like sight, touch, smell, hearing? I know most of us just take those things for granted. But just for a second imagine your life without them. Think how your life would change and then you will truly be thankful.
We should find gratitude in everything. Even if something doesn't go your way. Even if for instance, you are skipped over for that promotion you thought you were getting. Shouldn't you still be grateful for the job you have? There are millions of people around the world without one. Put what you perceive as a failure in proper perspective and you will be grateful.
So, as we move forward in this week and for the rest of the year I challenge you to do an exercise in gratitude every day. Find one simple thing in your life that you are truly grateful for. Make it a simple thing, not your big screen or your car. Once you find that small thing write it down, study it, then put it in your pocket. Throughout the day look at that piece of paper and imagine your life without that one thing. At the end of the day I want you to save that piece of paper in a drawer or book or something. The next day start again choosing another thing you are grateful for and follow the same steps. At the end of the week lay all of your pieces of paper on a table and count them, read them aloud...you are counting your blessings. Repeat this week after week for as long as you can. Trust me you will put everything in perspective as you carry on this tiny, simple little project.
Life offers us amazing gifts. We have a passion for life and love. Unlike any other creature on earth we are blessed with the gift to want to be better, to learn and grow, to experience happiness and to love others. We are all connected by an inner light and if we all just stop with the pettiness and truly learn to appreciate the gift of life and each other we can be happy, healthy and wealthy for the rest of our days.
Gratitude should not be a reaction to getting what you want, it should be the act of embracing the little things. The hand of a loved one, a flower in the garden, the taste of a pear, waking up to a new day...these are things truly worth being thankful for. I would much rather have any of those things than a brand new car or house. Because without those little things to be grateful for what use are the big things?
Start today! Instead of waiting for that positive experience to happen to be grateful for, start bringing gratitude to every little thing in your life. Your life and attitude will change forever!
“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart
Peace and Love,