Spend a moment every day thinking of someone to thank. Sounds easy doesn’t it? We say thank you to the server at the restaurant and we even leave a tip to show our appreciation! We say thank you to the clerk that helps us find what we are looking for in the store, the person who services our car, and on it goes. But, as I read though this chapter, being thankful at the moment, is one thing, being grateful and having a heart of gratitude are two different things.
You might be thinking, “Well, that’s sometimes hard to do Barbara! Someone scratched my car in the parking lot. A phone call made me late for an appointment! My kids have me running in all directions, my boss is a jerk and I didn’t get enough sleep last night!” Sometimes it’s easy to let the momentary irritations take center stage so that our feeling of gratitude go out the window. So how then do we get our mind and hearts centered on our sense of gratitude?
Our author asks that we try to begin our day thinking of someone to thank, and when we do that, many people will come to mind. Those closest to us, who we may sometimes take for granted, and those who we encounter as we progress through our day. He suggests that thanking a “higher power”, or in my case, God, for the gift of life itself or for the beauty of nature brings a sense of peace.
As you go about your day and travel throughout the community, make a mental note of those who extend themselves in a helpful manner and then take the time to thank them! Try to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts of gratitude.
Allow me to quote Richard Carlson. “What this exercise reminds me to do is to focus on the good in my life.” He continues, “It may seem like an awfully simple suggestion, but it really works! If you wake up in the morning with gratitude on your mind, it’s pretty difficult, in fact almost impossible, to feel anything but peace.”
I would like to add one more ingredient to his simple recipe. Try ending each day with a moment of gratitude. Instead of counting sheep, count your blessings. There have to be a few that come to mind. Some people keep a gratitude journal and some work their thoughts of gratitude into their prayers.
As we continue to journey on the Don’t Sweat Adventure, we are learning and practicing methods that will put us on a path to a less stressful existence; a path of peace of mind while putting chaos aside. We are learning to choose to think and react differently. We are “letting others have the glory”, realizing that ” life isn’t fair”, and asking ourselves “will this matter a year from now”. In our new toolbox we are replacing our negative thinking with thoughts that focus on gratitude for our blessings and for those people who add value to our lives with their kindness and willingness to help us when we need it.
Last weekend I attended a women’s retreat; part of a of the “Ladies of the Lake” rejuvenation weekends, that allows the attendees to rest, relax, and rejuvenate, while reconnecting with friends and spirituality. While there are scheduled activities to participate in, each person decides what she wants to engage in, and if the whole weekend is spent reading, writing, knitting, walking around the lake or resting on a bed, that’s okay too! An added bonus is that all our meals were prepared! We were pampered with manicures, pedicures, massages, and a “mocktail reception”. But most of us attend to further our spiritual journey and to learn how our existence, our struggles and achievements, our life experiences are a common thread that winds through each of us. It is a supportive, caring environment to nurture who we are and to appreciate what makes us special. Our theme this time was centered around the book, “The Cup of Our Life“, by author, Joyce Rupp. The retreat organizers had 25 totally different mugs created by a local potter to give to each lady, that represents how our lives are uniquely individual. We discussed the Empty Cup, The Cluttered Cup, The Cup of Boundaries, The Cup Filled, The Chipped Cup, and the Cup of Blessing as we closed out our weekend. The take away from this weekend for me was, that I discovered that I am still a work in progress; a beautiful soul seeking to become the best she can be. There are many who I will meet on my journey in this life, who will give something of themself that touches me in a positive and joyful way. . . and that is something to be grateful for!
THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT
Spend a moment every day in gratitude!