Characteristics of a Grateful Life
A life of gratitude is composed of three parts that combine to make a whole.
1. A sense of purpose in our lives
2. An appreciation for the lives of those around us
3. A willingness to take action to show the gratitude we feel
I think as a poet, I do pay attention and appreciate my life and the lives of others. I don't know that paying attention, alone, is enough. One of my shortcomings, I feel, is that I don't incorporate enough of the third characteristic in my life. Writing is often the most comfortable response; writing, though, is not always the most helpful response.
The challenge is expressed in practical (practicable) form:
* Spend three minutes every morning writing down a few things you are grateful for that day
* Devote a full morning or afternoon to composing a more detailed gratefulness list. (One tip: think both about what you are grateful for and also how you can show that gratitude)
* Make it a habit to encourage at least one person every day
* Review your finances to make sure they are in order and aligned with your values
* Plan something fun, like a trip to somewhere you’ve never been
* For one day (or more), say something positive to every person you meet
So, I'll start by adding three things I'm grateful (beyond my family-which of course tops my list each and every day) for this morning and I challenge you to do the same here in the comments section--or wherever you blog (leave a comment with a link).
1. Being able to wake up at an early hour without an alarm. For many years, I've been a night owl while my husband wakes up chipper each day. After a lot of practice and self enforced earlier bed-times, I'm able to wake up and spend a few moments over coffee with my husband before the day's concerns start to intrude.
2. Fresh fruit and vegetables. What a luxury to have strawberries and apples and bananas at my fingertips most every day. I keep a tray of fruit on the counter, often the basic apples and oranges, but their color brightens my day. And I know that my kids have healthy food at hand.
3. My silly dogs. I've learned much about love and trust from our two Italian Greyhounds. They make us laugh, too. During my chemo last summer, they sat by my side and kept me company. There were weeks when the only time I saw my husband's true smile was when the dogs greeted him at the door. They are so pleased to please.
There is always something to learn and always work to do.
Be blessed where you are, and bless others in return.