GRATITUDE: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
What I love about the definition of gratitude is that not only does it mean a thankful state of mind, it calls for action.
Right now, I am thankful to the Universe for creative energy so much so that I am now writing about it! I’m being grateful. I’ve been at a loss for what to post about the last almost two weeks now, and have been totally frustrated about it. This morning, during my workout, I was counting my blessings like I do everyday, and it came to me: write about this – the power of gratitude.
For me, being grateful is not only a state of mind it’s a habit, a lifestyle almost, a way of seeing the world.
I am, gratefully, in the habit of focusing on and writing down the things in my life that I am grateful for. I do this almost every morning over coffee – and when I don’t, I feel a difference. Sometimes I do this throughout the day and/or at the end of the day too. When I’m in a pissy mood, I find that just putting my mind on a positive aspect of my life helps me snap out of it. Of course, I can’t always shift my focus into a grateful state of mind in the midst of an emotional moment, but when I can, the results are amazing.
I haven’t always been this way. It’s a relatively recent practice for me to consistently be grateful in thought and especially in action. Thinking of just one blessing is step one (though it never stops with one – I always discover more). Writing it down is step two, at least for me (I learn better when I write), and doing something to demonstrate my gratitude is step three (gets tricky here sometimes). I’m not sure exactly where my focus on gratitude of late has come from, so I am grateful for the inspirations in my life – art, books, nature, people – and the grace that has brought them to me.
My go to gratitudes are: my healthy children, my loving husband, our intact family, my good health, our cozy home, a comfortable income, plenty of food, time, energy.
There are so many more though…my country and all its’ freedoms and opportunities, my healthy parents, my caring friends, my loyal, loving dog, my heroes and mentors, quality schools, my doctors, my safe community. And there are the intangibles that happen throughout the day…special moment with a friend, a gorgeous sky, a pleasant surprise, a compliment.
I read about the Syrian refugee crisis, and all the refugees and otherwise homeless throughout the world, and think about how not only basic needs are a blessing, but just having access to education is a blessing.
I read about countries where access to clean water is miles away and how it’s a daily chore for women to fetch it and how spending all that time means that things like earning an income or getting an education are unavailable or severely limited. And to think, I get to enjoy taking my huge water bottle (a blessing) to the gym (another blessing) in my car (blessing) to workout my healthy body (an enormous blessing). And further, that I am able to drink the 8 glasses of water a day that the body needs to function optimally is well, amazing.
That I even have the time and space and equipment to even write about my gratitudes is a HUGE blessing.
So what to do? After the guilt sets in (I was raised Catholic), I set an intention on doing one thing for at least one blessing each day. I’m grateful for my kids and I promise to hug and kiss them as often as I can that day, despite their objections (they are getting to that age). I’m grateful for my loving husband so I make sure to kiss him in the morning first thing, when we say hello and goodbye, and before bed and say and/or write “I love you” at least once during the day. I text the people I care about (not so good about calling…I’m working on it.) I use my healthy body as often as I can. I share food and money with others. I give my time to someone who needs it.
And lately, what is becoming my most important demonstration of gratitude for my life, I pray and meditate. It feels good and I figure it’s good insurance on a blessed life.
One last show of gratitude…
THANK YOU for reading. YOU are a blessing to me. I’ll keep writing to prove it.
What are you grateful for? How do you show your gratitude? I would love to hear!