What are you grateful for?
Recently, my friend and colleague Jenny McKaig asked me, “What are you grateful for?” How many of us take the time in our day to think about this…my guess is not many of us. We go about our days in the bustle of busyness chasing the dollar, shuffling the papers, managing our obligations and forget to smell the roses and count our blessings, me included.
At first blush this would seem a pretty easy thing to answer. For example, I’m grateful to be blessed with my husband and three kids and despite the turbulent teenage years, I’m grateful in the knowledge they are great kids… and hope this continues. I’m grateful for the roof over our heads and the material creature comforts we have been able to accumulate over the years to make life more pleasant and comfortable.
As I thought more about this question, I realized this was more difficult for me than I first thought and Jenny’s question inspired and challenged me. To answer this, I needed to be present in the moment and “everyday” which really is the foundation for gratitude. It’s hard to feel gratitude when we don’t acknowledge our awareness of the moment. So I thought I’d go through my day and take stock of the things that may be taken for granted, make note of them and acknowledge just how many things I am personally grateful for in a given day.
For instance, I’m grateful for the simple things in life that make life easier and comfortable:
- That I wake up to greet the day…really that’s the basis and start of everything isn’t it
- The aroma of a fresh cup of coffee in the morning as it wafts from the kitchen and then the first delicious sip to jolt- start my day
- A tall, cold glass of lemonade full of ice on a searing Summer day
- The burst of flavour of the farm fresh strawberries we pick every June
- A shared bottle of wine with my girlfriends which comes with a side of laughter
- That I can go to the grocery store and buy almost any food I desire without having to hunt, grow or fish for it (I don’t think I’d survive long if that was the case)
- Further to the last point, I’m also grateful that if I actually don’t want to cook the food I easily bought I can skip out into my local neighbourhood and choose any one of 10 restaurants to satiate my hunger and cravings
- Milk chocolate, anytime, anywhere. Period.
- (There seems to be alot of taste sensations I seem to be grateful for…)
- The freedom I’ve carved out for myself to enjoy my livelihood without a daily commute of 3 hours
- The warmth of the sun on my face after a long cold winter
And the little things that make life special:
- My friends that support and surround me. What would I do without them I can’t even imagine and the flipside to that coin, that they trust me and value me enough to turn to me if they need a shoulder
- A still, silent moment at 6am sitting on a dock jutting out in a clear blue lake in northern Ontario listening to the call of the loons
- My extended family in all parts of the globe that share my history and know me inside and out…how comforting to know they are there and I am loved
- For the smiles on my children’s faces and the jokes we randomly and unexpectedly share
- For the Cardinal the comes to visit me throughout the Summer that sings in the hedge outside my office window
- That I can strap on running shoes and escape from a hectic day to clear my mind and energize my body even for a few minutes
- The gift of the very rare moments that can suddenly sneak up on me when absolutely everything at that given moment is right in the world and I feel unconditional happiness and inner peace
- A pristinely beautiful day with baby blue skies and the feel of cool fresh-cut grass beneath my barefeet
- For the calm presence of my old cat Susy as she tries to drape herself across my desk while I work (she likes the Cardinal too)
- The travel I’ve done that fills the corners of my soul with new adventures and lasting memories
- The never-ending network of incredible colleagues, mentors, associates and business partners I have that constantly enable me to grow, expand and find new opportunities
<br/ >And then there are the big picture things that silently impact our world, which are beyond my control and have also made life a better place:
- That I had strict and loving parents that instilled a strong work ethic in me which became a building block and foundation of any job I held
- The abundance of choices we have at our whim and disposal and all we need to do is open up to possibility
- The fresh clean water that comes out of our taps 24/7 so we need never feel thirst
- The strong women such as the late Flora MacDonald that have been trailblazers in their fields to open opportunities for younger women such as myself finding their way
- The freedom offered and provided to us because we live a free society and democratic country
I could go on and on because I realize this exercise in gratitude has opened my eyes to how the things in life I take for granted are what fills me up and makes my life special to me and hopefully to those I impact. This exercise made me happy…this is a natural consequence of feeling gratitude…in acknowledging the things that have made a positive impact in my personal life I simply started to feel more positive. I challenge you to do this exercise for a week, a day or even an hour and see how many things big and small you come up with. Feel free to comment and share. I’d be very grateful for your thoughts.