Deep and lasting gratitude can change your life, but to find it, you’ll need more than the annual gratitude list shared around the Thanksgiving table. Real gratitude means really noticing what you have… every day.
Here’s a scenario for you:
In the midst of the morning rush, you climb into your car, turn the key, and… nothing happens. Nada. Dead as a door nail. You shake your head and maybe mumble a few choice words. How will you get to work? Who’s going to pick up the kids in the afternoon? And how much is this going to cost? You already know your day and your wallet are screwed.
All that consternation and yet, on the other 364 mornings of the year when the car starts right up, most of us think nothing of it. We just put ‘er in gear, and off we go. No acknowledgement. No gratitude. No joy. Just oblivion.
It’s the same with so many other gifts placed before us. We hardly seem to notice them… until they’re gone or broken.
But if it yanks our chain when something goes wrong, shouldn’t it be an equally big deal when it goes right?
What if you lived that way? What if you woke up in the morning and spent your day noticing everything that works, everything that’s right, everyone who’s there with you and for you? And not just listing it, but actually feeling deep gratitude for it. And what if you took a few seconds to throw a heap of appreciation to the universe, a kindly nod to God, for every single good and right thing in your day?
Your legs that carry you.
Your heart that beats.
Your hands that grasp.
A hot shower.
Being able to kiss your kids. And your spouse.
Being able to see the sun rise.
A friend’s thoughtful text.
The breakfast you eat.
The clothes you wear.
A car to drive.
A place to live.
A pet to love.
The ability to read.
The freedom to worship God.
The warm sensation of a hug.
The sound of laughter.
The delight at a phone call from one you love.
Heat in your home.
Water in the faucet.
Your favorite TV show.
A toilet. (Bet you’ve never given thanks for that before!)
The color of autumn leaves.
The sound of your favorite song.
Lungs that breathe.
An I love you that comes when you need it most.
What if you and I spent as much time, energy and enthusiasm being thrilled over these (and a million more) things that we often take for granted as we would spend if they were gone or damaged? This practice is important. It is the delivery system of daily joy. And, when we begin to notice and truly appreciate all that we have, we create a big, sturdy foundation of good to counterbalance the inevitable bad that life throws at us.
This week, most of us who live in the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving, a day of gathering and feasting, of family, friends, and football. For many of us, the actual giving of thanks is typically limited to taking turns around the table as we list a few things for which we are grateful. But what if we took it further? What if we noticed and appreciated every good thing from the time we woke up (in a comfy bed and warm covers) until the time we kiss goodnight the ones we love (and are so darned lucky to have in our lives)? And what if we did that every single day? I have practiced this, albeit with abundant imperfection, and it has made my life more grounded, more joyful, more positive, more resilient. It has made my life better.
Research backs this up. Gratitude matters.
My Thanksgiving blessing for all of us, today and every day, is this:
May we notice all that is ours.
May we bask in gratitude for it.
And may the joy that becomes ours overflow to all we meet,
perpetuating the blessing of goodness and gratitude every day of our lives.
Happy Thanks-giving, Underdogs. I could not be more grateful for you… and for a million wonderful things this and every day!
(Share the joy! Just copy the link, pop it in an email and voila! You’ve given someone one more thing to be grateful for!)