I love that there is a "30 days of gratitude" movement happening right now on Facebook. A very good friend of mine shared with me a few months ago that he had been doing a "gratitude practice" where he was writing down 75 things, every night, that he was grateful for. Think about that. Seventy five individual things. I was intrigued. What I noticed as I wrote out those seventy five entries is that once I got past the usual "Spouse, Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter, shelter, food..." list...I had to really drill down into my heart and open up to the beauty in my life. It is an incredible MINDFUL practice.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein
My life is blessed is so many ways, but I have shed many a tear over a huge challenge that a very close family member is striving to overcome. And I have actually said "why me?" in one breath, but in the next breath "why not me?" I truly believe that God gives you what you can handle, and apparently I can handle it. But it is not in the handling of the challenge where there is growth, it is actually in the acceptance and then appreciation of the challenge where the heart opens. Pushing up against it only causes pain and anger, but acceptance and gratitude is where the heart really wants to reside. So I have shifted my mindset. I now say that I am grateful for this challenging path because I can see SO many gifts that have opened up BECAUSE OF it, not in spite of it. And that's the truth.
So back to the list of 75. Because of this practice, it made me aware of the LITTLE THINGS in my life that I am grateful for. I remember driving home with Tom after a movie this summer, in the jeep with the top off. The just mowed alfalfa had filled the warm evening with an aroma that was so intoxicating that it brought tears to my eyes. A wave of childhood memories surged forth from my days of riding. Then a few weeks ago it was so cold in Colorado that the boiler (our house is OLD, 1902!) was having a hard time keeping up to heat the house. I went outside to shovel, which I actually kinda like because it is meditative to me, and I remember my heart being touched by the beautiful crispness of the air and the crackling of the snow under my boots. A flock of geese flew so low over my head that they barely cleared the house and they let out a squawk that echoed in the blue sky. Breath taking. THESE ARE HEART OPENING MOMENTS...if you are aware. It is hard to flip off a person tailgating you after a moment like this. Gratitude and especially a gratitude practice makes you mindful and energetically sends positive and loving emotion out into the world. Energy out...energy back.
So this Thanksgiving I am immensely grateful for not only the breadth of my life but also the depth of my life. I accept AND appreciate that life has its ups and downs and that it is in the valley where the gifts often reside. On the list of seventy five, hardly any of the entries were material THINGS, but rather experiences and relationships. Because what I am really grateful for is the the aroma of alfalfa, the crackling snow and the low flying geese. Quite, quite simple. And yes, of course, my family and friends.
For a written out gratitude practice go to www.daysofgratitude.com or just start journaling daily seventy five things you're grateful for.
-with gratitude, denice
let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. -Rumi
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