I know, I know. You can’t pick up a women’s magazine or self-help book these days without reading an article about gratitude. So before you say “enough already,” I want to remind you (and myself) why being grateful is so important.

I used to think that being grateful for things like fresh air, clean water, plenty of food didn’t really count. I wanted to be able to be grateful for having a lot of money, being the best lawyer in America, having a new big house and fancy car.  Those things are all great. I wouldn’t mind having them. But after having lived through my husband’s serious illnesses and seeing my friends come forward with love, food, and comfort I am more able to sit with my life and be grateful for what I have each day. That’s where I find peace and serenity. In the present of the present.

This deep feeling of true gratitude is similar to the feeling I get when I’m sitting beside a stream in the Sandia Mountains or when I’ve stepped outside on a clear night to look at the stars. I call it Oneness or Enlightenment or Peace.  And I think that’s what we’re looking for when we have a case of what my sister calls “the I wants.” We don’t really want the new car as much as we want the feeling of deserving or being able to buy the new car. We want to feel serene. We want to know we’re OK. We want to be peaceful.

When we feel serene we look at life through those wonderful rose-colored glasses. Life is good, our children are doing fine, our house is perfect, our job is fun, our significant other is the right one. That’s the feeling of gratitude. And I don’t know about you, but that is where I want to live. In the appreciation of the present.

So – keeping a gratitude journal is not only a good idea, it works. It gets you out of the resentful past or the fearful future and into the present. It works especially well when you don’t want to use it. Get a blank book. A pretty journal or a notebook that feels good and that you like to write in. Put it next to your bed. Before you go to sleep, make a list of ten things you’re grateful for. It doesn’t matter what they are. Begin today and see what happens. I bet you’ll find more and more things to be grateful for and in the process more peace.

3 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. I’m grateful to have you as my friend. You can’t replace a friendship that spans most of your adult life.

  2. Remembering last year when we saw a beautiful calendar during my husband’s and my visit to Albuquerque. What a beautiful gratitude journal, we thought and both expressed ! Not much later I received that wonderful bird covered book (birds-those lovely creatures that deliver our thoughts and messages where they need to go) from you, my friend for whose friendship I am eternally grateful. And I’ve used it to record words of encouragement spoken to me, spontaneous acts of kindness I’ve received, my dog’s precious playfulness, my husband’s entertaining commentary on life’s changing times, my children’s and grandchildren’s enthusiasm for life and change and as for today’s entry: the bravery of the young in Egypt. Bravo!

    Thank you for my journal. It, alone, makes me grateful. Libby

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