Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

“GRATITUDE is absolutely the way to bring more into your life!”

[photo courtesy of Inspiration University]

Source: us.mc1635.mail.yahoo.com via Brendaline on Pinterest

This is so true. Ever notice how much clearer, happier and more optimistic you feel when you think of something or someone who brings joy into your life? An extra hour of sleep is refreshing during Daylight Saving Time as ‘one more hour’ is added to the day.

Yet it is so easy to take simple pleasures for granted. In light of disasters like super storm Sandy, simple pleasures like taking a warm shower, having a hot meal or staying warm became monumental and sacred moments. I’m sure immense gratitude was felt as home generators saved the day, adding comforting warmth to a cold and frightening ordeal to those affected.

However, my post today is not so much about Sandy as it is about gratitude.

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude, simply put, is having an attitude of gratefulness. It is not ignoring nor denying the fact that bad events or occasions occur in life, but rather it causes us to focus on the visible and invisible blessings and inspirations that life brings our way. They are present when we actively engage our minds in the pursuit of this grateful state of being.

It can become difficult to focus on the ‘good’ when it is human nature to see the negative, when the scale tips in favor of ‘why’ it can’t be done. If you think I’m exaggerating, try this little experiment with a friend. Get a white sheet of paper, and place a small smudge of dark ink, roughly the size a pencil’s eraser tip, in the center. Say as you hold it up, “I am holding up a white sheet of paper. What do you see?”

A small ink stain or smudge,” or some variation of this would most likely be the response. Almost instantly, the focus would be on the dark smudge or dot. Why? Because it is our human nature to do so. The paper is held up to our face, yet we are oblivious to it. Instead, the small ink is more apparent. It’s natural, almost easier to focus on the negative,  dark sides of life while being oblivious to the huge expanse of possibilities on the white sheet of paper. This simple experiment I recall from one of my psychology professors rings true to real life.

Gratitude’s attracting light, somehow gets buried under negativity, too many to-dos and not enough time, or even being taken aback by life’s curve balls that seek to steal our joy, and undermine our efforts at success. The winds of adversity blow heavy and strong, with gale force strength, leaving devastation in its wake. However, it is during these times that it becomes all the more important to nurture a gracious and thankful spirit. For as the true-to-life quote above rings, the more grateful we are for X, Y or Z, the more of X, Y or Z becomes truly multiplied in our lives.

So, if I want to be a more healthy and well person, I must be thankful for the present health and wellness in my life. If I want to be a great student and learner, I must be grateful and thankful for being a great student and learner, for the learning resources and mentors that are present in my life. If I want to be wealthy, I must be grateful and thankful for the finances presently in my life, and thankful in advance for the ideas, innovations and wealth that is coming my way.  It is all possible by practicing the principle of gratitude. That’s quite powerful and simple to practice.

So in the spirit of gratitude, I have decided to take action, and write down five things that I am grateful for in my life today. Why don’t you do the same with me. Go ahead and get a piece of paper (it’s fine if you use that same white sheet with the ink stain) and write down five things that you are grateful for and want more of in your life now.

My Top 5 Gratitudes:

My Family & Friends

Although there is no such thing as the ‘perfect family,’ difficult and trying times help me remember and appreciate the love and support of the awesome people in my life! Thanks so much for sharing this journey of life with me!

My Life and Health

Some people never made it to see this day; it’s a humbling thought, and reminds me, more than ever, that life should be lived on purpose. Every day is a new beginning and a fresh start to creating the life that we were destined to live. Isn’t it wonderful to have a new day to begin afresh? The rising sun and the birth of newborn babies always remind me of this reality; as long as the sun faithfully rises every morning, this signals a new beginning. How wonderful is that!

Hope

I am thankful that I live in one of the greatest nations on earth, the United States of America. While it is far from perfect, I am continually amazed by the zeal, compassion, and generosity of the American Spirit.  Just look at how Americans rallied together after super storm Sandy. I recall looking at a CBS evening story a few weeks ago, and how this spirit was in full force. While those affected in a New Jersey patiently waited to fill up their gas containers, a resourceful and quick-thinking gas station owner, found an ingenious way to mechanically pump gas to patrons. Using a 1940s old-fashion hand pump, his crew extracted gas as one by one, neighbors got their fill of gas to power up their home generators or vehicles. Some waited hours to get that precious liquid gold. But what was more amazing was the empathetic human spirit of the station owner; he did not double the price at the pump. Everyone had their fill without an unscrupulous price gouging experience! A marvelous soul and inspiration of hope for us today!

Giving

It is easy to talk of a dreary economic landscape, or even the great political divide that has engulfed the nation over the past few months.  However, it is far more empowering to be an active contributor, be a problem-solver. Being my personal best and helping others in their pursuit is a satisfying and rewarding choice. Giving, volunteering, lending a helping hand in whatever way possible is satisfying not only for the one on the receiving end, but there is such an immense pleasure and joy associated with helping and giving to others! I think the proverbial saying, “It is much better to give, than to receive,” rings true because so much is gained in this regard. Your personal best shines through and there is no better feeling! The best gift of all.

Daily Inspirations

That becomes increasingly easy as I become more grateful. Inspiration is everywhere, and the opportunity to learn and grow from each is immense.

A few weeks ago, I read an email from Inspiration University (yes, there’s actually a school for that) reminding me of the importance of shifting my energy on what matters most in life–and gratitude. I am thankful for the simplistic yet true-to-life gratitude quote that has inspired this post today. So thanks Inspiration University, for inspiring my life and majoring in inspiration! 😀

Lastly, it has been a such a pleasure being a new-found blogger in this great community of bloggers. I had set out to enjoy setting my thoughts to writing, yet the equal pleasure has been amazement by those blogs that remind me of the very best of the human spirit. I love the blogs that I follows who share their gift of poetry, art, and their personal stories of triumph and spirit.  I simply love reading about those with a passion for living life to its fullest, humor, joys of travels, inspiring quotes and words of wisdom I find here. Simply a piece of heaven on earth in this blogosphere! Thank you all for sharing your gifts and uniqueness with me and my fellow bloggers. 😀

There simply is much to be grateful for in life. Let’s aim to focus on these blessings and not so much on the  smudge of ink on the paper of life. The more grateful we are the more of that comes our way. It’s definitely a choice and a doable attitude to create in our lives.

OK. Your turn. Think for a moment and tell me what are you thankful for today. I promise I’ll be grateful! 🙂