It’s those unexpected moments in life that fill us up with bliss. Today, although eager to get home, I made a spontaneous trip to the beach as per my friend’s request. I peeled off my boots and socks, threw on a sweater, grabbed The Way of The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman and set off solo to the shore.
My friend surfed, as I read, relaxing on the sand without a towel, relishing every intimate moment with mother earth. What I thought would be an hour, turned into some handstands, sun gazing, Qigong, a meditation, and words of gratitude. Enraptured by the beauty of the descending sun along the horizon, I was the one who ultimately had to be coaxed to leave the beach.
As I sat gazing into the sun, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Counting all of my blessings from the obvious of having eyes that allow me to see, to my new living space, I was overwhelmed with happiness at what a beautiful life it is. I cried—good tears of course. An attitude of gratitude always fills me to the brim, leaving me feeling whole, satiated, and inspired.
The same thing happened last week when I sat with my family around the dinner table for Thanksgiving. We each shared what we are thankful for. I was the last to go and before I could finish my sentence of being grateful for the loving, supportive people in my life I shed tears of gratitude. And trust me these weren’t the only times I’ve shed tears from the heart at the overwhelming feeling of being so grateful.
Gratitude is a practice that enriches our lives. It’s not just something to share on a holiday like Thanksgiving. It is a daily practice. Give thanks for each and every beautiful moment, and even for the hard times, as these are where we learn our greatest lessons. Being grateful brings more joy into our everyday lives. I give thanks for the food I eat at each and every meal. And I even say thank you when I find a great parking spot.
By consistently shedding light on all the blessings in my life, even the things easy to take for granted like having a bed to sleep in or a roof over my head, I can’t help but feel happy. I feel a warming in my heart and this only attracts more goodness into my life. What I focus on expands.
The barometer of how amazing this life is is based on the tuning of our perception. Is the glass half full or half empty? We can’t help how our mind has been conditioned through the hurt we have endured, but we do have a choice moving forward. Although it takes training of the mind, we can choose our thoughts. We can choose to get out of the worrying mind and be present in this very precious moment. Grateful people are happy people.
By listing/writing/speaking/thinking three things—be it a person, situation, feeling, trait about ourselves, etc. (not just the material possessions in our life)—that we are grateful for each and every morning, and then throughout the day when we feel inspired by the little things (don’t sweat the small annoying things, crank up the radio and dance if there is traffic!), we train the mind to stay positive, increasing our level happiness, decreasing our stress levels, and ultimately improving our health. Yes, really!
So what do you give thanks for?