5 Things You Forgot to Be Grateful For
I recently finished my month long focus on gratitude practice. Though I have engaged in many types of gratitude practice in the past I enjoyed this month because it helped be realize how important it is to make gratitude part of my daily life.
Here is what I learned
The 5 Blessing of Gratitude
1. People are a Blessing –
Often For a long time I didn’t realize how important the people in my lives were until I lost them. But by practicing gratitude I’ve learned to appreciate these people while they’re still here.
One way I practiced gratitude last month was to send one email a day thanking someone who I know or have known in my life. And with each letter I realized how lucky I was to have these people in my life.
Of all the people in the world, these people came and blessed me. They taught me lessons and gave me strength. They were exactly the people I needed to grow and transform into who I am today.
This month of gratitude has taught me to stop a minute and appreciate the blessing of their kindness and attention.
2. Time is a blessing –
I often think I have more time than I do. More time to get dressed before I go to work, more time to call an old friend, more time to follow my dreams.
But I’ve discovered I usually end up having less time than I want. And because of this I’ve learned I need to cherish the time I have.
This month I practiced cherishing every day by sharing three good things about my day with someone I love. This practice helped me focus on the blessing each day is and kept me from getting caught in the spin of negative thought.
It’s so easy to get caught up in wishing I was someone else, somewhere else. But I’ve learned that by being grateful for where I am I can enjoy my life as it is right now.
3. Space is a blessing –
Sometimes I’m am afraid of empty space. There are time I can’t bear letting silence hang in conversation. Time I can’t stand waiting in line. And time I abhor a moment without something to do.
But this month of gratitude has taught me to appreciate these precious moments of space. Because space is what makes change possible.
This month I practiced being grateful for space by pausing. I found that when I gave myself a moment to breathe so much was possible.
Space is so simple and pure. And yet space is the fertile ground for new ideas and realizations. Space is the place where new wisdom begins to emerge.
By practicing taking a pause, I found that each of these moments is sacred.
The moments spent waiting for the bus are when a solution emerges to the problem you’ve been mulling over. Those moments when you don’t reach for your phone, can reveal how sad you actually feel. And those moments of shared silence can bring you closer then any words if you let them.
4. What I have is a blessing –
Our whole economy is based on the idea of not being happy with what we’ve got. And I’m not just talking about possessions. I’m talking about our bodies, our knowledge, and our lives.
On one hand we all have to work at being better people. On the other hand better selves and better lives start with appreciating where we are now.
This month I practiced being grateful for what I have by reflecting daily on my blessings. As I did this, I realized how rich and abundant my life truly is.
I found that when I can learn to be grateful for this job, this shirt, this set of knowledge, and this life. I also learn to find greater balance and peace in every step along the way.
5. Gratitude is a blessing.
More than anything I learned over this last month that having gratitude is a blessing in itself. It’s not that I need to live a life that rocks, so I can be grateful. It’s that I need to be grateful, in order to live a life that rocks.
The more grateful I am, the more I see my blessings. The more I appreciate my life, the more kind and open I become.
And the more kind and open I am the more things I discover that help me grow.
Now it’s your turn. What are you grateful for?
I also want to thank all of you for sharing your attention span with me. Your time and attention are your most valuable resource and I’m so honored that you share it with me. I promise to honor that with always giving you the best of my self on this blog.
5 thoughts on “5 Things You Forgot to Be Grateful For”
Hi Sam (what do you prefer to be called?) –
I read your entries religiously, and they echo the way I lived my life every day before I lost my husband in January – we were a spiritual team, as well as in every other way. We did our gratitude lists aloud to each other every night, each time ending in a fervent “And I’m most grateful for the gift of you in my life.”
My life has taken many difficult turns, and I have learned to practice gratitude as a way to navigate the rapids, and enjoy the clear, calm waters as well. But this time, I’m out of my league. On my very best days, when life is almost tolerable, I journal, read spiritual guides (I’m trying to learn “grieving mindfully”) and try to be grateful for the brief relief from the agony of losing more than half of myself – my heart and soul were part of a union greater than the two of us, and it’s been torn apart.
What I find most difficult is that Phillip and I found each other in middle-age – we had both married (unhappily) raised our wonderful children to adulthood, and then were blessed by the miracle of finally finding the person we were meant to be with from the beginning of time – for 7 years. And I turn 50 in 11 days, with the general statistics making it likely I will live almost as long again as I already have.
Counting my blessings is an exercise in being grateful for what I HAD; the blessings I count now – my children, good health, a decent mind, parents who are supporting me both emotionally and financially (from thousands of miles away), because my husband’s family has – shockingly – tied up his estate in court, and I am destitute now. All of those gifts “are as ashes in my mouth”, to be perfectly honest, because my deepest being is struggling with even wanting to survive.
So, to you and to everyone who live in a time of relative peace, nurture your spirit as much as you can – live every moment and try to recognize the blessing of each one that is free from tragedy and loss. Live your best life now – it’s yours for the taking. Life can change irrevocably in a moment’s time.
Thanks for that reminder Maura. I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling with loss in the way you are. Loss is so powerful and touches us so deeply. I hope that you can find a way to greet the second half of your life with the same hope you greeted the first half. It is so hard to know what the future hold and that means we need to appreciate what we have now and also be open to what may come. I hope that your birthday blesses you with peace and the feeling that where you are now is where you need to be. Thanks for your lovely comment and for your honesty.
Sorry for your loss Maura. Maybe this can inspire you? http://zenhabits.net/loss/ All the best to you.
Right now I am grateful for honesty. I appreciate when people choose to be themselves on a platform like blogging. Not easy. Sometimes we are not honest with ourselves and those closest to us. Seems crazy. Maybe it is easier to be honest in blogging? Yes and no, I think.
I particularly liked your comment about discomfort with space. Did I pick that up correctly? It resonates with me. I commute by bus and try to be mindful. Involuntarily (allegedly) my hand drifts to my pocket, seeking that sweeping thumb motion and that feed of news, weather, entertainment, whatever. Unbelievable. Who invented those things? Am I honestly expected to develop the self-discipline to ignore the tactile call of the screen? Was that a quiet, ‘yes’? Oh.
Thanks for your comment. Yes that is exactly what I meant about discomfort with space. And what you said about having a phone is so true. Just last night I was at dinner with friends and didn’t bring my phone and I couldn’t believe how many time I wanted to reach for it to look some fact up. Thanks for your comment and for reading.
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