Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” I’ve been practicing gratitude daily over the past several weeks, and I can’t say I disagree. Almost each day of February, I’ve scribbled down five things I’m thankful for.
Ocean breezes and surfer sightings on my walks to work. Sunday golf rounds with my Dad. Solitude in the mornings at my roommate-less apartment (i.e. nirvana for a bit of a loner-type). Moments and things that, underneath their shroud of ordinary, are glimpses at the divine. Things that make me feel alive and connected to the world.
Joyful lives – the real lives we’re supposed to be living – are realized through restoring a sense of reverence with the worlds that surround us. Or, as W.B. Yeats said, “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” By opening our eyes to the beauty inherent in these little things, we reconnect with what life is about.
Studies show that exercising gratitude on a regular basis will change a person’s life, positively and immediately. It’s a dramatic-type of change, which provokes the thought: how many small daily life modifications reap the same benefits? How many small behavioral changes can affect the quality of your life as dramatically? Practicing gratitude is like injecting 100 cc’s of seratonin straight into the pleasure center of your brain.
Since thinking of thankful things, beauty is more close at hand. It may sound cliche, but true nonetheless: I notice the particulars of the clouds in the sky. It’s all about our habits, and by practicing gratitude daily, I’m changing my relationship to the world around me.
Would practicing gratitude change your life in similar ways? There is no doubt in my mind. But since it’s such a simple thing, to say thanks for the small blessings, I think we discount the power inherent in the act. Despite that, try it. Right now. Think of five things your thankful for. Or better yet, buy the best journal you can find, and write down five things you’re grateful for every day.
Today, I’m thankful for:
1. The people who support me.
2. Living in such a beautiful place.
3. Bubble baths.
4. Old friends and getting the opportunity to go to the University of Colorado.
5. See’s candy. Although, right now, after eating too many pieces of said candy, I feel like throwing up.
6. An organized sock drawer, compliments of my Mom.
7. My cat.
9. My new dream journal.
10. New flats.
11. This video my co-worker showed me, which is perfect for “Horrible Bosses”-esque days (i.e. trial).
11. Makeup and getting to be girly.
What are you grateful for today?