Saturday, April 12, 2008

Living with gratitude

Grateful Heart by Katherine & Elizabeth Pope
Grateful Heart

It seems far easier to focus our minds on what has not gone well instead of focussing on what we already have. It is easy to slip into a mindset that we do not have enough. One important aspect of living in the moment is appreciating and enjoying what you have right now and to appreciate it and acknowledge it with gratitude.

If you consciously notice and express gratitude for kindnesses and moments in your life, you instantly create connection with others. It encourages us to look outward and to focus on our connections with another human beings, another aspect in nature. You notice the contributions made by others in your life and how you value them, you can therefore accept them and feel a joy within your being. By consciously noticing the beauty around you, you receive its energy, you connect with it and your mood will improve.

What you are grateful for will be personal, entirely different and may even to others seem completely bizarre.

My experience of gratitude became apparent while I was motionless in my bed; while my muscles ached and refused to move; while I could just about practice mindful breathing. I did receive smiles from my children who read to me ( because you enjoy that and you cannot do it Mum), who bought me an ipod ( because you like music and you cannot listen to it now while you are lying down), who showed me the birds and the seasons ( because it is still beautiful out there Mum and we will take you out and put you on the grass so you can sense it with your body, you can smell the freshness and you can see the fresh green).

That for me is a moment of extreme gratitude that is imprinted in my soul. How at a desperately miserable moment, I did gratefully receive and realised that life was good.

You can be grateful for a cup of chai tea, a homegrown lettuce, a rainy day, a song, a flower, a slice of bread, a lovely piece of chocolate.

Practicing gratitude before going to sleep each day enables me personally to acknowledge the good things in my life that day and create value for each day without assuming or presuming anything.


Miles Away In France said...

A beautiful and thought provoking post.

Racheal x

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Hi Anne,

You sum up the problem so eloquently.

It is so easy to focus on the failures and overlook the successes. The reason why the awful events in the world make headline news is because they are not the norm, something that we (me included) usually forget.

Your ‘more is less’ philosophy is totally accurate, when I was a child in London we had no car, telephone, television, ‘fridge etc but it was a magical time. A walk in a park with my parents and brother was an event to be savoured, especially if we could afford a bus ride there!

I loved your comment “Practicing gratitude before going to sleep each day enables me personally to acknowledge the good things in my life that day and create value for each day without assuming or presuming anything.” How little we (I) tend to take for granted the good things that surround us.

We were walking in Yorkshire many years ago when it started to rain and did so for a long while. As we turned a corner in the path a man was walking towards us and, not pausing in his step, smiled and said “It doesn’t matter what the weather is like, the sun is always shining!” How right he was.



Anne said...

Thank you both for your lovely comments. Life can be portrayed as having little value, food news is really scary at times and yet we can remind ourselves that we live an abundant life. It is a moral boost.