Noun: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
As I was going through my day today, I was constantly reminded of how much I really have to be grateful for. I make a practice of recognizing at the end of each day, the things, people, situations, I had appreciation for. It serves as a way to ready me for sleep and as a reminder that this day is ending and another one awaits. This post won’t be a long list of all the amazing things I have appreciation for in my life, this post is to remind each and every one of us that every day we have the capacity to recognize and show gratitude for all we have; for most of us are not lacking. Even in times of sorrow and strife, of confusion and fear, we have the ability to make a choice and see the light within the dark times, however hard it may be, to identify something, no matter HOW SMALL it might seem at the moment, that we can express our thanks for. I guarantee you that simple act will lift you up out of the depths of despair. In those times, the times we feel heartbroken or just plain broken, feeling gracious is like being thrown a life-preserver when you are drowning; being grateful can save us.
For some of us, the holidays can cause gloom; the winter weather can bring us down because there is less sun, its damn cold, and we tend to spend less time outside and with others; hormones can go insane, communities in turmoil, the list of what is out there to send us in a downward spiral seems endless; on the other hand, the tangible list of what we HAVE (and this is beyond material possessions) within ourselves and in our immediate grasp is beyond endless. All of us have the breath of life to be grateful for every morning when we wake up. Most of us have a roof over our head and a warm place to lay our head at night. Most of us have a means of getting from place to place, by car, public transit, our own two feet and/or legs. Most of us have a way of paying our bills, whether we love our job or not, we make ends meet. I don’t know anyone who is unable to take care of their basic human needs. Most everyone I know is beyond fortunate in their health, livelihood, family, friends, possessions; from that aspect, most of us have MORE than what we need.
Graciousness isn’t just one day on the calendar, it’s everyday. Everyday we can find at least ONE thing (if not 5 or more!) to be grateful for. I invite you to begin a gratitude journal, to begin each day (or end each day) with writing 5 things you are grateful for, see if you can’t go beyond 5, take note on how this simple act starts to shift you and pay attention to how it may even help to shift those around you. Saying to yourself, “I am so very grateful for…” is some of the best medicine I know to cure what ails you.
May peace, love and gratitude seep into the very core of all of us. Today and everyday.