Gratitude. Showing appreciation. A mindful acknowledgment for every little thing we’re blessed with. Focusing on the abundance in our lives, as we cultivate the attitude of generosity and happiness.
Most of us have grown up hearing this, learning this in various forms – stories, experiences, activities.
Nothing is more rewarding that expressing gratitude. It opens up our hearts to cherish every little gift we receive. It performs the miracle of setting us free from what weighs us down. Most of all, it allows us to celebrate the present moment, rather than waiting for “someday”. Truly, gratitude gives us a number of reasons to feel happy.
Even though I’ve been living with gratitude, over the years, my gratitude practices have evolved. One thing I’ve always been encouraged to do by my Mom was maintaining a gratitude journal. When my son was little, I got him started with a “happiness jar” which we made from a large clear container with a big smiley stuck on it. He would write what made him happy on little chits of paper and drop them in the jar. Just watching it fill up was such a joy – reminding us always that there was much to be grateful for. Reading them was even more fun, especially some years down the line.
Today, I am grateful for:
- The air I breathe
- My cozy home
- The food I eat
- A kitchen to cook in
- The means to buy my basic needs
- Family and friends to share my life, my joy, my happiness
- Healthcare when I need it
- Kindness of strangers
- Universe, which actively listens
- The ability to exercise
- Eyes to see
- The privilege to give and make a difference in lives. I chose child sponsorship and you can too! What joy to see a life/lives transformed!
As the year is coming to a close, I am taking stock of all the good things and not so good. There have been many ups and downs and emotional upheavals. The learning has been immense, for which I am deeply grateful.
More than anything else, the year has been a constant reminder to grateful for the things we take for granted, to focus on those who love us and not worry about those who don’t.
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of a wonderful TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg
You think this is just another day in your life?
It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to you today.
It’s given to you. It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.
If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment.
Look at the sky.
We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment, with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather, and even with the weather, we don’t think of all the many nuances of weather. We just think of good weather and bad weather.
This day, right now, has unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again. That formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same as it is right now. Open your eyes. Look at that.
Look at the faces of people whom you meet.
Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom, not only their own story, but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far, and in this present moment, on this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations and from so many places all over the world flows together and meets you here like a life-giving water, if you only open your heart and drink.
Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us.
You flip a switch and there is electric light.
You turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water, and drinkable water.
It’s a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.
So these are just a few of an enormous number of gifts to which we can open your heart.
And so I wish you that you will open your heart to all these blessings, and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence.
Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you, and then it will really be a good day.
Merry Christmas, dear friends!