When I first started thinking about gratitude recently, I wrote a long list of things to be grateful for, which seem to sort themselves into five categories:
The gifts of talent and creativity, of imagination, of curiosity and of playfulness.
I think we often forget to indulge in the last three of these ... children are so much better at making the most of imagination, curiosity and playfulness.
The gifts of five amazing, delightful senses and an awesome brain and body.
I think the best ways to express appreciation and gratitude for such gifts is to indulge in them, to thoroughly explore and enjoy them, to use them to the best of our abilities.
It's easy to forget to be grateful for basic needs like food, clothes and a roofover our heads.
Most of us are also blessed with the fulfilment of emotional needs, freedom, justice, human rights ...
A wonderful way to express appreciation for the fulfilment of our basic needs is to respect them and avoid wasting them. Our gratitude is evident when we share what we have with others.
Nature really is boundless in her generosity! She gives us so many things to be grateful for: sunshine and rain, infinitely various light and colour, from the tiniest, breath-taking detail to spectacular, panoramic scenery.
Nature provides food, shelter, clothing ... even entertainment.
Expressing appreciation and gratitude for Nature's gifts is easy ... just enjoy them!
The Gift of People
I have used a picture of a tree rather than a picture of people. Partly because my pictures of people are very few and never very good ... this is something I'm looking forward to working on! But also because a tree is indicative of heritage, of the gifts we receive from ancestors and those we pass on to our descendants. A tree is also an image of growth, of strenth and resilience, all of which are gifts from the people in our lives.
Making a list of all the people who have been a positive influence in your life is a wonderful gratitude-enhancing exercise. Writing my own list has also made me express my appreciation directly to those on my list. Speaking and writing my appreciation enhances and amplifies my gratitude, reminding me how blessed I really am.
There are lots of lovely ways to express thankfulness for the people in our lives: a smile, a hug, a verbal or written 'thank you' or the reciprocation of an action.
The Joy of Learning
Life's many lessons are easier learned when in a place of appreciation and gratitude: mistakes become lessons; weaknesses become strengths; difficulties become challenges.
The happy, humble bee can teach us much about hard work and perseverance, and about making the most of our surroundings. I have begun learning about bees and am increasingly amazed at these phenomenal little creatures.
Sitting on my doorstep, watching then dance in the sage, listening to their hypnotic song, I can't help but be glad to be alive, to have a doorstep to sit on and a moment to take advantage of it, to have an acute sense of sight and hearing ... a simple moment filled with thankfulness.
Today I am grateful for:
Lots of pots to wash: Washing pots is a form of meditation for me. I find it relaxing to focus on the rhythm, the noises, the feel of the water and bubbles, the pleasure of a clean plate being lifted onto the draining board. My mind sifts through any problems I have when I wash the pots, searched for answers suddenly appear to questions that have been lingering all day.
A noisy, messy house: This being evidence of two healthy teenagers in the house, at home rather than out wandering the streets.
Losing my creative flow recently: For a few weeks, I felt unable to write anything at all. Instead, I spent a lot of time outside, quality time with Youngest Daughter and together we created a garden from a jungle.
Losing my focus: I lost my focus too, but this allowed me to refocus on some important things and people I had been neglecting.
Blogger, Twitter and Flickr: Or rather, all the wonderful people I have met through them. I truly appreciate the genuine warmth, the mutual support and encouragement, the inspiring thoughts and wisdom of experience so generously shared.
Thank you! x
Take a moment from your day today, make a cup of tea and put your feet up perhaps, or go for a walk and find a beautiful place to sit. Treat yourself to a little time to contemplate the gifts you have, the gifts you have received and those you have to offer.
Who and what are you thankful for today?