Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.
“I’m so grateful for everything you’ve ever given me…” So sings Sir Paul McCartney in Gratitude . Countless artists, some movers-and-shakers, myriad humble monks and mystics throughout ages of ages all seem to agree. Their words vary, but the message remains. Gratitude is everything. We only need reminding. I know I do. The din of everyday can become an enormous weight upon our hearts. Its cacophony cancels out melodies that ears can hear with ease when we are not immersed in ‘fear of’… this calamity, that tragedy, this potential conflict, that bad guy… no! THAT one, over there! See???
I hear your objections already — easier said than done to remain in a state of gratitude. I disagree. The difficulty is not about gratitude, it’s about the space we have each and all learned to live in, particularly in the so-called ‘Enlightened West’ As Mohandas K. Gandhi is quoted as saying when asked what he thought about Western Civilization – “I think it would be a good idea.”
How then to increase our own personal moments of gratitude for simple being, and for the miraculous beingness of others, when the cultural loudspeakers blare fear, distraction, savagery and banality at us from cradle-to-grave? This is what works for me:
- When I wake-up I take a moment to breathe mindfully before standing to engage the day. My goal is to etch the day with what Buddhist’s refer to as “gap time”. The gap is now. Every moment of every day is now. By setting an intention to freely move into gap time and gap space, I facilitate easier mobility into and out of a waking mindfulness and focused attention that is needed for the challenges of my everyday life.
- Throughout my waking time I take moments to feel my feet on the floor or the ground, feel my butt on the couch, feel the water on my hands as I wash them, as I water the garden, as I wash the dinner dishes. Again, it’s about mindfulness – focus, and all about purposeful breathing as I’m feeling all that stuff. Such a concept. It’s just breathe, breathe, breathe all the time.
- When family demands, or traffic stress, or confrontational malarky with any walking wounded others, ad infinitum — at these moments, I remind myself to pause. Pausing creates a gap where I can choose how I want to respond to the eddies of my ‘life’.
With these intentional actions in place I am constantly freed up to appreciate the miracles of being that are never gone, but for so many are impossible to see amid the distractions, or hear beneath the noise of what’s often taken for granted as “just how it is”. My ability to appreciate without judgment what my amazing sensory system perceives is the foundation of my state of gratitude. Without this mindful relishing it is easy to fall into patterns of event-react-event-react that is all too common for our species here on The Happy Planet. I’ve been there. I’m not going back.
The energy that comes from the center of mindful me, that surrounds me, and radiates outward from me changes everything. I consider it my cosmic imperative to be centered in the gap while mindfully living with the people I love and the people I meet, and the people I’ve only simply heard about who live lands away.
I don’t glow with other-worldly light (at least I don’t think I do). I don’t levitate. But, if you understand the interconnectedness stories of ripples in a pond, butterfly wings in the Sahara and such, my heart-mind-self knows that mindful and grateful moments change everything. I’m not going to wax on about quantum affinities and entanglements, but it’s all about those too!
So, for right now, I am in gratitude for everything I can perceive, and I’ve made room for all that’s out of range for the moment. Thank you for reading. Thank you for being. Oh! And don’t forget to breathe. ♡