Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gratitude and the Search for Quan

Gratitude is an absolutely essential part of being truly happy. After all, if we experience no sense of wonder, no appreciation for all the bountiful gifts in our life, happiness is almost impossible. A few years ago, my daughter and I started a Gratitude journal for the month of November. We picked one thing every day to be grateful for. Then, on Thanksgiving, we shared our journals with one another. This was such a beautiful, positive experience in both of our lives that it is a tradition our entire family continues.

When my husband was deployed, I used to have trouble sleeping. I found myself laying awake thinking over and over about all the things that could go wrong in my life. Maybe the roof will leak, maybe another pipe will break, what if the children get hurt, what if my bronchitis comes back? On and on the worries went until my anxiety played like a record player every night in my head. Then, I remembered my deep, untroubled sleep from my childhood. What was different? Was it really the responsibilities that were different? Or was there something I did as I child that I had somehow lost along the way?

When I was a child, I used to talk to God every night. About various things, my life, my family... whatever came to mind. Somewhere along the way, I lost that. So, I made a point to spend some time every night listing all the things that I had to be grateful for. There are SO many.
I have a wonderful husband who loves me and who I adore. We have an amazing life together in a beautiful home, with two beautiful, charming and intelligent little girls.
I have a mother who loves me and a father that loved me. I have wonderful friends who I know would be there for me if I really needed them.
I live in a safe corner of the world. I love what I do.
If you really think about it, there is a whole world to be grateful for. I look out into my yard and sometimes I see a little red fox that lives in the woods across the way. I am so grateful that I live on such a beautiful planet, so full of various life and that I get to experience that for even a day. I love the sun on my face, the wind in my hair, the smell of my flowers in bloom. All of these things are such a gift.

My mother always taught me to find something every day that brought me joy, even if it was something small. What a tremendous gift she gave me! A few years ago, when my pipe burst, I was up late at night with the technician while he fixed it. I kept saying to him, "I'm so glad that I was home when this happened, it could have been so much worse! I'm so lucky that my friend could be here with me so I wouldn't go through it alone while my husband is deployed. I'm glad that this only happened in my garage and not the kitchen." Etc.... He laughed at me and said that he had never met anyone so grateful for having something like this happen. It was a compliment really.

So if today you are looking for the happiness in your life, as we all do...remember all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for. Start small and go from there. Believe me, there is so much!

Gratitude - it is the wave.....


Parenting Network said...

That is such a good idea. It really is hard when life starts to get you down to forget to think about the things we are thankful for. I had a rotten week last week. My friend's was worse, yet she had such a positive outlook on things. She is a very beautiful person.