Cultivating Gratitude

On Cultivating Gratitude

I have a lot to be thankful for.  My family for one.  Ed, for another.  And my bed, and the sun, and BBQ chicken for dinner.  And laughing over nothing, and the sound of singing, and lighting a candle that smells like peppermint when I eat my breakfast. 

But the thing is, sometimes I forget to just sit back and really appreciate what I have.  From big things like having a job, and little things like noticing that the bananas have ripened, and things that fall somewhere in between like rediscovering Harry Potter. 

I used to be good at noticing the little things.  Every night, in a little notebook, I would write down three or four things I had noticed throughout the day that had made me smile.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t really been leaving my house but lately, I haven’t been noticing or appreciating things at all.  And that troubles me because the days already have a greater tendency to blend into one another and pass in a blur.  The least I can do is pick out tiny moments, hold them close to me even for just a second, and then move on.  

When I was going places, and seeing people, and running through cities at twilight, practicing gratitude seemed easy.  I had so many obvious things to be thankful for.  But now that I’m in my room for most of my day, I’m realizing cultivating gratitude is actually hard work.  It requires an active mindset, a commitment, a shift in focus.  

Nowadays, when I’m lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I’m usually thinking about everything I should have done, or dreaming up things I want to do.  When really, I should be reflecting on the moments that brought me joy, or made me laugh, or made me feel something. No matter how simple or small they were.  

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