Gratitude

I’ve written plenty of posts over the years on gratitude. I’ve even authored a book called Finding Peace Through Gratitude: The Secret to Healing From Trauma and Discovering Joy in Every Moment, written under pen name Alexandra Benn.

Finding Peace Through Gratitude: The Secret to Healing From Trauma and Discovering Joy in Every Moment by [Benn, Alexandra]It’s in large part because of gratitude that I have the life I have today. It’s gotten me through everything from monumental life events to seemingly infinitesimal daily matters. It’s gratitude that has lifted me from the depths of despair and painful moments I couldn’t see my way thorough. It’s gratitude that has carried me through the death of loved ones and fully appreciating my loved ones still with me. It’s gratitude that makes me focus on all that I have instead of desiring that which I don’t.

Gratitude is a state of mind, a decision, a choice. It’s choosing to look at the glass as half full instead of half empty. It’s choosing to look at what you have with appreciation and thanks instead of pining for that which you don’t. It doesn’t mean you have to be grateful for pain that hurts beyond anything you’ve ever felt, but I promise you there’s something in that painful mess that you can be grateful for.

Death of a loved one? You can be grateful for the time you had with him/her. For the experiences you shared. For the memories you can cherish.

Victim of a crime? Help other victims of crime and feel gratitude that you’re able to use it for good. It transforms you from victim to victor.

Passed up for the job promotion you worked so hard for? Reach deep to find gratitude that you have a job and that you have the opportunity to try again. In fact, express your happiness for the person who did get it, and you will feel like the winner.

Chronic illness? There’s always someone who’s worse off. I’m not suggesting your illness/pain isn’t real and I’m not diminishing it in any way. (I, too, had a long run with chronic pain in my past with fibromyalgia.) But if you choose to focus on and be grateful for the health you have in other areas, it makes it so much easier to bear.

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So all of this being said, it’s this time of year that I love to reflect on the past year(s) and swell with gratitude for all that I have and all that I have accomplished. Every New Year’s Eve I journal these things as a permanent visual reminder of how blessed I am. On those days life is especially hard, when I’m tired and worn, and when it’s hard to see the blessings, I pull that journal page out and review it. And then I’m so grateful for the practice that I’ve cultivated.

What from this past year are you grateful for? 

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. John Milton

 

 

Living with Intention

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Life is often lived in such a rush, as if we’re racing to get somewhere, that so many blessings go unnoticed. The only place we will get by racing through the day is one step closer to the end. I don’t know about you, but I want to experience all that I’m given, tasting and savoring every morsel of the day, every sip as if it’s the finest, most luscious cup of coffee (perhaps wine for those of you who partake).

I want to feel the cool breeze through my hair and the raindrops splash against my cheeks.

I want to feel that lingering stretch in each muscle upon awakening in the morning, right after I’ve lifted my spirit to my God and given Him my day to orchestrate as He will.

I want to feel the sweat bead on my forehead as I feel the invigoration of a good workout.

I want to hear the birdsong of early morning, the doves calling out peacefully.

I want to hear the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet as I drink in the beauty of the fall colors.

I want to hear the crackle of the fire in the fireplace and feel its warmth on a cold evening, snuggled beneath a fleece blanket and cup of herbal tea or sea salt caramel hot cocoa.

I want to feel my lungs expand with each breath, as my heart expands with gratitude for that breath.

I want to feel the arms of my husband circle around me unexpectedly as I stand at the kitchen counter preparing dinner, his lips warm on my neck.

I want to savor that first sip of coffee each morning as I revel in the stillness of morning, when all the world around me is peacefully asleep.

I want to feel the miracle of truly living each moment of each day.

I want to take nothing for granted, but swell with gratitude for each gift given, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

And for all this, I don’t have to do anything. I simply have to be. A human being rather than a human doing.

“Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Laugh.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.”

— Mary Anne Radmacher

Carpe Diem