Why Gratitude?

Marv pondering in the garden

People are skeptical about gratitude; I can’t blame them. It’s not easy to tune into or away from events in this uneasy, the sky is falling,-wait-is-it-real-or-fake-news-time, in our country’s life.

I’m often asked, What is there to be grateful for? I understand. We are all anxious these days. Anxiety can cloud vision, focus, and point of view. I need not remind you who is president, who fawned over Putin, as we learn day by day how much of our way of life is being threatened.

Nonetheless, I believe, with focus, we can train ourselves to pause, take a breath and consider that which is in reach and palliative within our own small orbit. If you have read my blog on the benefits of time in nature, you know that by a daily practice in which I attend to a houseplant or walk out into my garden and pause, I am able to move into a state of appreciation for the color or shape or smell of what is before me.

The key is embracing possibility—that in the course of one’s daily activities, there are limitless options to notice and feel appreciation and gratitude. For me, the benefit of pausing and slowing my pace are immediate. I can feel my mood shift and for no other reason then to experience calm, I am grateful.

Take yesterday, at the grocery store. The temperature was 90. The air, humid. Late in the day, I was not in the mood to shop. But first thing, in the produce department, I was greeted by a gracious man I have endlessly seen unloading greens and propping them up for display. “Hello,” he greeted, with his wide smile. My smile in response was instant.

Before I knew it, I was caught by a loud conversation between a young boy sitting in a grocery carriage with his mom. He was talking vegetable talk— “yellow tomatoes, yum,” as his mother leaned over the display of tiny fresh fruits, filling a box to the brim and handing her boy one after another as a snack. The scene was intimate and sweet; it filled my heart. I was grateful to bear witness.

Near the finish, as I came up the aisle, an elderly man in a wheel chair turned the corner. Had I continued, we would have collided. He paused. I moved back and tucked myself into a cheese corner to let him pass. We made eye contact; he nodded with appreciation. “You have the right of way,” I quipped with a grin. I noted another special moment.

Can we be “in the moment” all the time? Maybe not, but we can take note of a moment some of the time. If we pay attention, scan and focus upon what intrigues, engages, inspires, delights, stimulates, stirs—you name it—one can gather gratitude and appreciation in small ways throughout the day.

Every minute, we have choices in how we approach our lives. Each experience is ours, to take in. The minutes, the immediate connections to others and the environment, add up. I hope you will seek gratitude in some way every day.

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Why Gratitude?

  1. Hyla Jaffe

    Beautiful writing, Faye. I think of you often as I “play” in my small garden. This year’s addition is a red hibiscus and I marvel at the new blooms each day. Be well.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Hyla, thanks for your comment. I don’t have a hibiscus plant in my garden but always stop to pause at the sight of those wondrous blossoms. Yes, I would say that one does “marvel” at each bloom. I hope you continue to enjoy.

  2. Hy Kempler

    Faye
    Your piece reminded me of experience the other night at the Williamstown theatre. Sheila and I noticed the number of elderly who came in their wheel chairs and with other aids. It took them extra effort to get about and find a comfortable place without interfering with others. I was inspired by their determination and thankful (grateful) that I was spared that.
    Your message of noticing the everyday moments is so true. If those are ignored we will miss those things for which we can be truly grateful.
    Thanks
    Hy

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Thanks for the lovely story and comment. Indeed! It is so easy this days to be self-absorbed or distracted…Observation and reflection is so helpful as your story informs us.

  3. Patricia Rogers

    Faye…what a lovely reminder of the many opportunities to feel “gratitude”. I have been waiting and waiting for the hummingbirds to arrive in my garden and today Steve saw one circling and landing on my zinnia’s, he ran to the front door to let me know in the hopes i would see her but unfortunately she had vanished. I’m hopefully and grateful that yet i may have a sighting !

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Pat, Those lovelies are so swift…hopefully, one will soon grace you with her presence.

    1. fayewriter Post author

      Eva, that’s my mission— to keep gratitude in focus. Thanks & hugs to you!

  4. Rosemary Booth

    Lovely meditation on–plus-defense of–having a grateful attitude. And I did enjoy the writer’s quick shot of humor in the supermarket story, as she describes having “tucked [her]self into a cheese corner.”

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