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Are We Grateful Yet?

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”

~French Proverb

It’s a lovely autumn day ~ leaves brilliant yellows, reds ~ the sky blue, the air crisp. I adore this time of year, as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, my favorite holidays. Instantly my mind pictures festive table settings, a golden, juicy turkey, family, friends and laughter ~ the very best of life. There is so much to be grateful for, isn’t there? Yet how many of us limit what we appreciate to only “good” things? What about the parts of life we push aside, ignore or fail to accept? Is it possible to find gratitude in the darker moments, in the less than preferred situations…or people?

This year I am trying something new: finding gratitude in unexpected places and receiving gifts that masquerade as problems and obstacles. I discovered, and you might also, it is easier to love the richness and delight of a beautiful holiday creation than it is to welcome and embrace the difficulties, struggles and discomforts of ordinary, daily life. As I thought about this, I decided to take action. I simply made a shift in my perspective and attitude and came up with the following:

Beginning right now, I am grateful for:

1. Hardship: it teaches me to go deeper and be resourceful
2. Physical discomfort: it teaches me limits and how to handle them
3. Difficult people: they are my best teachers, offering me the opportunity to forgive
4. Things gone “wrong”: my plans have limited value ~ has a new doorway just opened?
5. Undone tasks and nagging to-do lists: I now value priority, order and organization
6. Self-judgment: only acceptance, compassion and love heal
7. Loss and grief: we are only here for a short time ~ I embrace each precious moment
8. Failure: offers learning and an opportunity to begin again
9. Unwanted change: I accept impermanence and trust emergence
10. Chaos and stress: reminds me to practice mindfulness as a way of life

1 comment to Are We Grateful Yet?

  • I am utilizing the same idea–of finding gratitude in unexpected places–with my clients. I am a counselor intern at an all-women’s residential treatment center. As the intern, they test me frequently and I get so tired. Hard to be grateful sometimes! Your article helps me a great deal, and I am building a lesson for the women about gratitude in general because addicts frequently miss that lesson in life. Also because the holidays you mentioned are indeed coming up and these people will be in treatment rather than home, and sometimes home, though greatly missed, is toxic at holiday time,so we need to start thinking on these things now!

    Thanks again,