"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." Buddha
This is the season for gratitude, a host of holidays all offering us the opportunity to express and share our appreciation for others. I find it incongruous that we need a season to be grateful, as if gratitude is something we wear once a year, like the holiday tie or sweater, then tuck back into the closet until the proper event requires its use again. Perhaps gratitude should be worn daily, loudly and carefree, like a little boy’s favorite baseball cap. Saying thank you proclaims to the Universe the world we wish to see.
"You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you."
Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance
Author Susan Jeffers suggests that to learn to be grateful, we make a list of 50 things every evening that we are grateful for that day. They need not be big, in fact, it is more important they be small. Initially it may be difficult, to come up with people, events, things, etc. that we might be grateful for. Often our mind is filled with all the little slights and annoyances that occurred during the day: the angry guy in the car who cut us off, the rude sales clerk at the grocery store, the grumbling boss who piles on extra work as we try to leave for the day. There are many little things that can rub us the wrong way.
I have to admit, it was hard for me at first. Of course there is the usual list, my family that includes my wonderful husband who is the wind beneath my wings, my children and especially my three grandchildren; my friends and my job that I love. But over time, as I worked at it, the list got longer and the listing got easier: a sunny Colorado day, a close-in parking space at the store, finding just the right pair of boots, a funny email from a friend that made me laugh, the beautiful Christmas lights decorating our downtown, the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a co-worker brought to the office, a long hot shower in the morning, a bowl of popcorn and an ice cold Coke, the five dollar bill I found in my coat pocket that allowed me to go for a latte, the woman who gives me a pedicure. For that I am truly grateful - anyone who would touch these toes…
And then there is the gratitude that comes with peace. I lost my sister a couple years ago and though it was a difficult time for me, I am very grateful that she died with dignity and with what seemed to be a conscious choice that it was time for her to move on. And yes, at times I still grieve for my daughter who left this world fourteen years ago, but in the same light, I am grateful for the 21 years she shared with me, and for all that she has given and taught me from the other side.
May today and everyday, you find something to be grateful for.
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