I just finished writing one of my newsletters, where quite a bit of the topic centered around being grateful.
It reminded me of a day a few years ago, when I was in a job that occassionally took me downstate, to Concord, NH, to the headquarters of the project I was working on was hosting a meeting.
For some reason, when I left my home about 2 hours north of Concord, I decided to find things that I was grateful for, and keep focusing on things I was grateful for as long as I could.
By the time I reached Plymouth, NH (which was about an hour and a half away), I was still listing things.
I noticed something else rather peculiar that day. For some reason I found myself in an almost spiritual place – nothing was bothering me, every thought I had was overflowing with a vague feeling of joy.
It was downright odd.
As I was writing in my newseltter, while it seems easy to find things to be thankful for on a sunny day when everything is going our way, it also sometimes seems difficult to find something to be thankful for if something has gone wrong.
It is when something is awry that it’s even MORE important to find things to be grateful for. It may be difficult for a moment or two, but once we find one or two small things that we can honestly be thankful for, it gets easier and easier.
And then, as I pointed out in the newsletter, it seems as though our circumstances begin to lighten up as well!
Here is an example of a fairly extraordinary thing that I heard someone be grateful for (I talked about this in the newsletter) – a homeless woman needed a safe place for the night, and was exceedingly grateful to come upon an outhouse that had a lock on the inside of the door. Just enough to make her feel safe, she stayed in there the whole night, truly giving thanks.
So, if someone can be thankful for that, can’t we ALL find something – no matter how seemingly insignificant or small – to be grateful for?
Here are a few “small” things to start the ball rolling. These are all things within my current and immediate reach, as I sit here typing:
I am thankful:
- that I have a car that runs and is paid for
- for my home – it is easy to heat, and doesn’t take much oil
- for the fact that glasses were invented so that I can still see and function without much help
- that I can smell the lilacs in front of my house
- that I can hear the hummingbirds zipping around the feeders right now
- that the water I’m drinking is clean
- that I can stand up and stretch or exercise my legs right this moment without someone telling me I can’t
- for a sense of humor, and that I can laugh like an idiot at a video of a cat licking a hamster (ahem… when I should be working. But I digress…)
- that I can look at mountains out my window while I type this entry…
So, if we take this a step further and look at the Elbert Hubbard quote, above, the more we ponder the wonder in our lives, it will be easier to “never forget the things that made you glad.”
Try the experiment for yourself, and see if you don’t find your day going better if you begin it with some time contemplating the many things that you can be thankful for in your lives.
It definitely works for me.