Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 days of Gratitude

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I love doing theme-months for this blog: it keeps me focused on finding the “juicy bits” in everyday life!

This month, I am sharing with all of you 30 days of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. I believe that gratitude is so much more than saying thanks for the things we have and for the things we like. It also asks that we tune into our lives and find the blessings even at times when things don’t look so good!

Why is gratitude so hard to embrace sometimes? I have wondered about this question, especially when well-meaning people give me that “smile” that says, “you are living in la-la land Sandra, you can’t possibly find anything positive to be happy about!”

Am I delusional? Am I out of touch with so-called “reality”? Maybe the reason why many of us find it hard to embrace the joys of thankfulness it is because as a society, we focus on our shortcomings, lacks and limitations more than the blessings we experience.

Many of us rush through our days in our fast-paced culture. Rarely do we stop and take stock of our achievements and accomplishments. To consciously move into an attitude of gratitude we need to stop and take a breath and slow down.

Our children are the perfect teachers for those of us who want to be present and find the miracle in the little things. Many of us moms have heard our children go to the simplest of the birthday parties only to tell us they had the best day of their (short) lives! Or how the ice cream they just ate is the best ice cream ever!

When we are feeling stressed, unloved or unappreciated, it truly helps to take our focus from the negative and acknowledge the many other times when we have felt better: the people in our lives who have made our days brighter or those who chose to see the best in us when we didn’t. The good night of sleep we have had or the delicious meal that me enjoyed with our family.

That is what I call taking inventory of our blessings.

I know that my now 9 year old daughter can be a challenge to my patience sometimes. When the time comes for me to “practice what I preach”, I remember that the very same traits that make it hard for me to stay cool and calm sometimes are the same characteristics that will one day make successful in the real world: her assertiveness, her eloquence and her great wit!

I know that clichés and platitudes have little impact on our daily lives. It’s the practical application, the embodiment of this idea of gratitude that will lead you and me into a new and sustainable way of being happy, independent of outside circumstances.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
In Gratitude,

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