Last year around the New Year I went on a journey of gratitude. At the time that I started this project, I was leaning away from gratitude and my attitude was starting to get, well crummy. I had dedicated a month to daily gratitude before, and noticed a big shift in the way that I viewed my days and decided to commit to the practice for an extended period of time.
My intention was to journal gratitude for a year. Each day I would identify 3 things that I was grateful for.
Some days were more challenging than others to come up with my list of three, and sometimes I'd miss a day or two in a row, but I'd always come back to my journal to review the last few days and get my 3 things onto paper. Writing down 3 things that I was grateful for allowed me to see the beauty, positives, and things in my life that I often times take for granted (food on the table, a safe home, a bed, a healthy family, etc.)
I stuck with my daily journal for eight months, until August 2022, when one day I woke up and decided that I was ready to stop my gratitude journal. My outlook had shifted and in many ways, keeping track of gratitude started to feel contrived. So I closed my journal and went about my days.
And life went on.
Some days I think about going back to my routine but the process was no longer authentic to me.
And then, recently I found my re-entry into the world of authentic gratitude.
Last year, around the time I started my gratitude practice, I bought the book below. It had been missing for some time (kids) and I forgot that I had it, until I found it hiding among some children's books.
I started to leaf through the pages and found this reminder.
A stop light. Ah yes, finding gratitude in less than obvious places.
The next day I was put to the test.
I was driving my car down a snowy side street after dropping my son off at school. My husband called, so I was talking to him on speaker phone. Due to the snow I was driving slower than normal. In the middle of the road was a man on a bicycle. I couldn't pass him and I slowed my vehicle down to a crawl. "What is he doing in the middle of the road?" I complained to my husband on the phone. He laughed and told me to "slow down, Sally".
And then it dawned on me, all the reasons to be thankful for this man:
-He was riding his bike, moving his body, and breathing in fresh mountain air
-He was minimizing gas consumption and promoting sustainability
-I couldn't pass him, and as a result I drove slower, safer, and more mindfully
-My husband and I had a good morning laugh, a moment of connection
-He made me ponder, what is the rush, anyhow?
Opportunities for gratitude are everywhere. Crossing the road safely, a cup of tea, seeing an old friend unexpectedly, a moment at a stop light to take in the sunlight, or to make eye contact with my kids in the backseat of the car. Finding gratitude doesn't have to be a chore. It doesn't have to be contrived. Gratitude is an invitation to slow down and to see the brightness of each day, the moments that seem trivial, but make a difference in how we and interact with our environment and the community around us.
Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours.
Do you have a story to share? A time that you found gratitude in an unexpected place? I'd love to hear about your practice of gratitude!
Share in the comments below.
Interested in staying connected with me, my musings, classes, workshops, and retreats?
Subscribe to my newsletter.