An Exercise in Gratitude

I think most of us have images in our mind of how life is supposed to play out.  Whether it’s a holiday gathering, a vacation, having a baby, getting married – whatever the situation – no matter how big or small.  We all have an ideal scenario play out in our minds.  Often times we’re disappointed.  It just doesn’t ‘go our way’.   An argument happens and the festivities are tarnished.   A flat tire happens and your totally late.   You are overwhelmed with being a new mom and it’s just not ‘like the book said’.

It happens to all of us.  We need to focus on the bigger scheme of things.  Rather than to be disappointed over silly little things that derail our ‘perfect situation’, let’s take life in as it happens and appreciate all the little things that got us to that point.  Let’s be grateful for all the things gone unseen.    Or, rather unnoticed.  Let’s take the focus off the end result and be grateful for how it all came together!

Be grateful for the farmer that grew the pumpkins, the sun and rain that nurtured them, the factory that canned them and the trucker who delivered them so you could make that pie that didn’t look so great but tasted wonderful!  Be thankful that plane or train or automobile that brought your loved ones in for the gathering, the taxi driver or the pilot.  Because even though an argument erupted – you still got to spend time with people you love despite the mishaps.   Appreciate the policeman who stopped to assist you and call a tow truck when your cell phone died and you had a flat tire.  Appreciate his family who are eating dinner without him that evening.

Sometimes we just take things for granted.   We need to step back and take a good look outward – and sometimes to do this, we must look within.  Think about what truly is important.   Think about the unseen details.  Think about how everyone in the world works together.  How we are all connected.  Somehow.  Like one big machine made up of billions of tiny cogs and wheels and pieces parts to carry on with life.

From the rice grower in Japan tending his fields, the warm sun, the dairy farmer in Wisconsin tending his cows, the cargo ships that sail the seas, the men who built the railways, the people who built the grocery store in your neighborhood, the lady in the grocery store stocking the shelves, the gas station that fueled your car all so you could make a rice and cheese casserole.   All so that you could provide food for your family.  The fact that we are living in this massive assembly of people and nature all working together so that we can LIVE is amazing.

Try this right now:
Look around you.  Pick one thing you see.  Anything!  Now get a piece of paper and a pen and list everything that happened to make that thing/that object/that food/etc.  (Think hard.  Devote a few minutes to this.)  I bet you’ll be amazed at how many people and how much effort went into the end result.   Be grateful for chain of events.  The people, the beauty of nature, the circumstances that brought this thing to you.   And say ‘thank you’.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.
Have you used one to say “thank you?”

-William A. Ward

1 thought on “An Exercise in Gratitude”

  1. I love it all. I would like to see a switch in consciousness about our lives and what “despite” is though. Despite is a judgement. A want for control. It’s the ego dictating what the perception of life is when it is our perception that needs major altering. A Source for changing perception would be “A Course In Miracles.” We cannot continue to evolve in our own lives unless we change our minds. Love and All Blessings to you, Lisa Kleckner Tzouvelekis

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