Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude for every little thing

I have been on quite a journey in these past several months, and I imagine you have been too. Life IS such a journey, such an adventure. While there have been many things that have struck me as fascinating, several moments of exquisite joy, and profound experiences of quiet reflection since I wrote last, I haven’t yet found a way to capture this leg of my journey in written words. I’ve jotted down a dozen different ideas for blog topics from the experiences of these past several months, and my hope is to begin writing them down, one by one, over the next few weeks. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Today, I was moved to write by my appreciation for the holiday of Thanksgiving. I love that we set aside an entire day to express gratitude. Gratitude has been on the forefront of my mind for a while now, as I made a decision in mid-August to begin posting a (nearly) daily expression of gratitude on my Facebook wall. A friend of mine had been doing this, and I just loved reading what she wrote. I decided to challenge myself to do the same, and I have really enjoyed it. Some days, I find that my gratitude is more related to work, and sometimes it is more personal. There are times that I have witnessed beautiful, awe-inspiring events, and there are challenging moments that help me appreciate better all the other moments I experience of genuine ease. Today, I was stuck behind a driver whose slow, traffic-light-stopping behavior created an initial reaction of judgment and annoyance. Stopped at the yellow light behind this person, I reflected back on all the times I made the light easily and all the commutes when I drove effortlessly to work and home again. By the time the light turned green, my energy had already completely changed for the positive, and I found myself smiling. From the simple practice of intentionally keeping my eyes open to all there is to appreciate, I have been experiencing a profound shift and lightening in my perspective.

I believe that every moment has the potential to engender gratitude. Regardless of whether I may wish to judge a single moment as “good” or “bad,” the accumulation of these single moments comprises the fabric of my life. So, what kind of tapestry am I weaving? I have the freedom to appreciate each moment. Or the freedom to lament about what that moment could have been but was not. For me, I choose to cultivate a spirit of gratitude – to celebrate the wonderful moments and to honor the gifts of those difficult times too.  I am grateful for my ability to make this choice and for the support I’ve received along the way that empowers me to do so.

On this Thanksgiving holiday, I express heartfelt love for the healers and teachers who have deeply enriched my life, whose nourishing spirits have empowered me to reach further and believe more, and whose compassion has sustained me in the darkest hours. I am also grateful for all the unintentional teachers I have known, those people and experiences who taught me lessons I had no desire to learn but that helped me grow in ways I couldn’t even imagine possible.

Finally, I wish to thank all of you who are following this blog. I appreciate your support along this journey and your encouragement to keep writing.  If you feel inspired to share your experiences, I’d love to hear about the role of gratitude in your own life. 

Wishing you peace, joy, inspiration, and resiliency on Thanksgiving!