I do have countless blessings for which to be thankful. I’m thrilled with the hope our new president brings, even if the challenges are tough. I have friends, family, faith, and stable finances. If you look from the outside, my life is wonderful. I should be exceedingly grateful. My life is good.
But the truth is, I don’t always act so appreciative. Sure, if you ask me, I’ll tell you how much I appreciate my life. But do I show it with my actions, my words, and my deeds? Do I really feel it in my heart? At any given moment, you might catch me demanding even more from members of my family. You might find me longing to buy that new thing, service or getaway that would just make life a little easier. You might find me wishing I had accomplished more that day or week. I find it hard to be content with all the blessings I’ve been given. I want more stuff, more help, more appreciation, more accomplishment.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I feel the need to cultivate gratitude for my many blessings. Ann from Holy Experience hosts a space for a gratitude community. The challenge is to write down One Thousand Gifts–not gifts that we want, but gifts that we have. So I bought a little spiral notebook, and I’m writing down things I appreciate, big or small, one at a time. I leave the notebook on the coffee table and invite my family to add to the list. We have 41 so far, and we have a long way to go. But that’s the point. It’s an ongoing exercise–a habit to cultivate.
This isn’t just a spiritual/religious exercise. Research shows deliberately fostering gratitude through journaling makes an extraordinary difference in people’s lives. While I’ve always been intimidated by daily journals (ironic for a new blogger, yes?), somehow I think this one is doable. I don’t know how long it will take. I’m trying not to set any major hurdles or deadlines. I want this to be a guiltless, joyful experience. Through this, I’m hoping to bring more gratitude into my attitude.
What about you? Would you like to join me in cultivating gratitude? Just grab a scrap of paper and begin. And keep me posted. I’d be grateful!