We have all just finished a crazy, hectic and busy holiday season.  We have had some really good times and, I’m sure, some challenging experiences as well.  That’s commonly known as “being in a family.”   There is probably no better time than now to take stock of where we are and where we want to be.  I think that there is nothing more important right now than to emphasize gratitude.  I would like to consider the question “what am I grateful for?”

Let me go first by giving you an idea of how big and powerful gratitude is.  I am sitting at home, at my desk writing this article so here goes. ”I am grateful that I am alive, I am grateful that I’m healthy, the house is working, I can feel my fingers hitting the keys…my mind is working actively…I am grateful for the cup of coffee, held by my hand, and that it is hot…I am grateful that my internet is working and that the electricity went on…that my dog, Bear, is under my desk sleeping on my foot keeping me warm, saying in dog language, “I love and want to be near you,” he’s my buddy… I am grateful that when I look up, my neck works painlessly and I see pictures of loved ones on my bulletin board that warm my heart and comfort me…I am grateful that I have a nice desk and office to work from…that I have a window to look out of…that my eyes are working, gratefully, and I see snow and blue skies in the distance…I catch my breath aware and grateful that I am still breathing and say, “Thank God”…because I want to hear my wife come through the door…I have so much to be grateful for…

I am not going to tell you how I am feeling right now after doing that brief expression of gratefulness.  Rather, I want you to take a few minutes, stop reading the paper – Yes, I said “stop!” – because stopping is what we need to do in order to feel how much we have and can be grateful for!

So now it’s your turn.  Go slowly, preface what you say with “I am grateful for,” start from where you are, like – I am grateful that my hands can hold this newspaper and that I have eyes to read it and…I am grateful that…….       take as long as you need…come back to reading the paper only when you are ready.

How did that feel?  That is the state of gratefulness that is available to all of us…all the time.  Like, whenever we are having the downs, the grumps, the ”nobody loves me the way I want to be loved” feelings.

To me, gratitude is a state of being…where I can go…at any time…where I have an immediate history, a collection of experiences…that tell me that I am loved and appreciated…and appreciative of benefits received.  Notice that I intentionally avoided using “thankful” because it has become a charged word; unfortunately, parents forced their kids to say “thank you”, which caused immediate rebellion and refusal, and was said out of rote with little to no feelings attached.

 

I see gratefulness as a state that enables one to “be grateful!”  That is an action word!  And that is where the real gold lies.  It is always in giving to another that true joy and happiness can be found.  It is all right to feel lonely, upset or angry at times.  But, it is silly to stay in that state when you have an antedote available to you.  Feel gratitude for what you have, be grateful and go help and give †o another.  I think you will see that a lot of the stuff that gets stuck between our ears can be quickly cleaned out when we focus on being kind and considerate to another.  It is not a guaranteed formula, but it sure helps someone.  Let’s talk more about this article on line at www.familyconsultationservices.com/articles.

 

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