The practice. . .
Back when I allocated my Home page to writing about gratitude, my intention was to go small. Not small in a way that downplayed gratitude’s importance, rather small in the way that acknowledged the profound joy in life’s simple treasures: beautiful flowers, fresh air, connection time. Every month for years, I met my dedication to that practice by highlighting moments, events, and gatherings of significance to my family and me. Many were small, and some were not. Then, last June, I got busy. Life got in the way, as life tends to do.
There’s been plenty to be grateful for every day between then and now, but without a ritual to ground my thinking in abundance my brain’s go-to set point is scarcity. What I haven’t done enough of. What problems aren’t fixed. It’s astonishing how easy it is to miss beauty in the sun dappling a room with a warm wash of light, or in an apple tingling a tongue with a crisp burst of flavor, or in a cat canoodling a face with a satin coat of fur.
Last week, I saw a flyer for this book on a rack at the Center for Spiritual Living in Camarillo where I’m taking a beginning mindfulness class. (More on the class later.) Perfect, I thought, over this bit of synchronicity. As part of my self-care journey, I’d wanted to resurrect a gratitude practice—the experience of gratitude as a verb—and I’d wanted to keep it simple. I returned home and ordered the book that night.
Inside, one page is dedicated to every day of the year—a few questions, a couple of lines to answer each question. Simple. Profound. I plan to share here my answers to questions on some of the pages, helpful reminders of what’s right all around me.
Here’s today’s page:
In two words, how do you feel right now?
Relieved and anxious
What are you grateful for today?
I’m grateful that I was able to go to my daughter and minister to her illness.
What can you learn from current challenges?
I can learn to slow down, pay acute attention to the present moment, take one task at a time as a way to prevent becoming overwhelmed.
How can you make today awesome?
I can make today awesome by completing this post and manifesting gratitude in my daily life.
What physical ability are you grateful for today?
I’m grateful for my ability to easily hop in my car and get to the store for medication I needed to heal my body.
A gratitude practice doesn't have to be time-consuming or involved. You don't need a special book. You don't need a set of questions. Or to write in complete sentences. You don't have to connect your gratitude to traditional religious beliefs. You may end up grateful at the end of the day for reasons other than when the day started. The point is to put action to your thoughts around gratitude. (That's the "practice" part.) Making gratitude real is a sure way to appreciate the "enough-ness" that surrounds us.