One of the most profound lessons in gratitude was when I learned to stop saying ‘I have to…’ and started saying ‘I get to…’ ~ Amy McCready
These days, it is hard to shut out the daily diet of shock and horror that delivers sound bites about the bitter realities of war, the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic and the heartbreaking images of global divisiveness and loss. Even for the most armored individuals, it is all but impossible to protect ourselves from feeling drained of all hope and without motivation to enthusiastically move forward in life inspired by our dreams and goals. Today more than ever, we are in vital need of a way to carve a path through the darkness if for no other reason than to preserve our sanity.
Saying “thank you” is an ingrained behavior we learn as children. Throughout our lives, we acknowledge our gratitude to others for kindnesses, service and support with ‘thank you.’ In spiritual teachings, we are taught that gratitude can change our emotions, help us feel more alive, generate improved sleep, increase our compassion quotient and build connections to good karma in our life.
Gratitude is the tool and the fuel that replenishes and restarts our resolve to set foot down a different road. Appreciation pours ‘thank you’s’ into a world that is sorely in need of healing its deep and infected wounds. Cultivating gratitude in the world is a big responsibility but it is more imperative than ever before.
What is beautiful about experiencing and expressing gratitude is it can become an everyday practice that reminds us that every moment holds the potential seed to find something for which be grateful.…and…as we find things to appreciate every day, every moment, we will stumble upon even more opportunities to experience and express what we can say ‘thank you’ for.
Here is a start to get you thinking about some experiences that hold a hidden opportunity for gratitude. See if you can add to the list. Feel free to share in the comments anything you might want to contribute to grow gratitude:
Early wakeups = children to love
House to clean = safe place to live
Laundry = clothes to wear
Dishes to wash = food to eat
Crumbs under the table = family meals
Grocery shopping = money to provide for us
Toilets to clean = indoor plumbing
Lots of noise = people in my life
Endless questions about homework = kids’ brains growing
Sore and tired in bed = I am still alive ~ Contemplative Monk
Further food for thought on expanding gratitude into your personal sphere is at this link:
Breathe in gratitude for every minute detail of your life, the sunrises, sunsets, trees, music, family, the sorrows and the joys and always, always cherish the many moments of perfection that remind you that God is present in everything.
You can change the entire world with gratitude – know this!