Two days into 2018, wrapped in a blanket and typing, the headlines blaring with hard-to-ignore news, I am aware that while I embrace the concept of gratitude, it does not always embrace me. Like all humans, I am not automatically wired to feel grateful.
You would think that after keeping a daily gratitude diary for a year and then writing this gratitude blog for two years, that today’s post would come more readily. I believe that in spite of the weather or news or state of mind, each of us has a story of gratitude to tell. Some are dramatic and compelling like my Mitzvah story of John fixing my flat tire. Others are hidden, less apparent and need to be teased out with intention to seek and mine what one experiences.
When I ignore or forget about intention, I slide right by the signposts of gratitude such as a quiver in the gut as I experience an empathic moment, a smile on my face as a clerk jokes about offering me a job, a moment of calm as I scan the hill laced with white snow outside my window.
Each of these moments holds a story. Each of these moments, were I to sit with pen in hand and describe the details—the what, where, and experience of the encounter— would result in opening and deepening a sense of gratitude.
Take for example, the job offer. The morning before the encounter, I called Whole Foods in search of a digestive product hard to come by. To my delight, I spoke with a person who informed me they had the product and would set it aside with my name on it. That afternoon, I followed an engaging man who opened a large drawer and began to rumble through, saying, “Likely it’s on the bottom; it always is.”
As he began to sort and sift, he moved a standard sized bottle wrapped with a paper note aside. I had the instinct that the bottle could be mine. “Check that bottle right there, please,” I said.
Sure enough, there was my name— “Faye” written on the note. “How would you like a job working here,” he joked. We both laughed. It was a moment of shared gratitude, a moment of levity I sorely needed. More, and here’s the reflection piece, I was grateful to feel and acknowledge my intuition.
In theory, gratitude is always present and available if one can focus and prime the intention. One of my main sources of learning and inspiration and one that I recommend is the https://www.mindful.org website to which I subscribe. They suggest a weekly writing practice two or three times a week. They unequivocally state:
elaborating in detail about a particular person or event for which you are grateful carries more benefits than a list of many things.
I find this to be true. When I take the time to write out a story, in effect to tell myself a gratitude story and spend time reflecting on its meaning, I deepen my sense of gratitude. I am grateful to you, my readers, who motivate me to show up and bring my intention to practice gratitude to the blog page.
I like the honest, direct phrasings in this essay, and how they suggest the challenges winter can present to a writer; e.g., “wrapped in a blanket,” seeing “the hill laced with snow,” and—in the face of it all—still finding motivation “to show up,” and write.
Rosemary, thank you, as always, for your careful reading and yes, “showing up.” Write on…..
As always, thank you, Faye! I am always inspired by your dedication to gratitude. <3 <3 <3
It always lifts my spirit to hear from you. Onward!!
An inspiring and thoughtful reflection and one I needed to see this morning! 🙂 Thank you.
Pam, It’s a pleasure to hear from you. Wishing you peace and harmony in your quest for gratitude.
You are an inspiration, and inspired me to find gratitude for the past year, which I had been calling the lost year. I reframed and feel better. If you want to read my post, it’s at janecawthorne.com
Jane, I’m very moved by your comment and grateful that my intention to share the meaning of gratitude in my life has made a difference in yours. In reading your blog post of your “lost year,” I so admire your honest writing and persistent search to find a way to manage the impossible-to-predict variables of your concussion symptoms. Often, when there is vacuum in our lives, we search for alternative resources and ways of being. It’s clear to me that you are still the same “straight ahead,” to the point thinker that I first came to know at the Solstice. That ability, especially when writing personal and true narrative, shines through every line of your blog post. I am grateful for your friendship. May 2018 bring positivity and balance as you continue to heal.