Gratitude : It's the hot-topic in November. I'm glad for a month of reminders to be thankful but during the other 11 months I find myself all too easily passing through entire days without uttering a word of thanks. In a digital, consumer age where we are most definitely confronted with the things we DON'T have more than we take the time to appreciate what we do have, it becomes easy to get lost in an attitude of not enough or stuck in a jealous rut.
But gratitude. Gratitude is the antidote for so many things -- fear, sadness, comparison. Practicing gratitude requires us to be present. Start with the smallest, focus even on the silliest. I love the idea of choosing thankfulness. Because it is a choice - in every circumstance we are offered an array of reactions and feelings and we have been graciously given the option of thankfulness. This is not a rose-colored glasses approach to life in which we ignore all the wrong and the sad. The practice isn't meant to puff you up with the things you have or the circumstances that are going well. Practicing thankfulness on a daily, moment by moment basis, is a means to revolutionize the way you see the world.
One of my favorite books by Ann Voskamp transformed the way I think about and express gratitude : One Thousand Gifts : A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are. A mother of six, Ann shares about the daily overwhelm in which she found herself and set out to make a list of 1,000 things - big and small - that she was thankful for. Expressing gratitude in the moment is the most powerful way to be fully present. To appreciate what you're feeling, what is happening and who's experiencing it with you.
So let's not wait for the 26th of November. Don't wait for a house full of family and the perfect table setting and the kitchen to smell like pumpkin pie. Start practicing now, on November 5th, somewhere between forgetting breakfast and spilling lunch on your shirt. Somewhere between the car not starting and your child's fifth cold this season. Take a deep breath and really open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds you - you might have to look really really hard in the beginning but at least you're looking. xo