Every morning when you wake up, are you grateful for the day? Do you feel fortunate to be alive? Do you realize how precious life is enough to not want to waste it? Most of us don’t consciously acknowledge our gratitude but we should. We should see every new experience as wonderful because that very ability to see wonder wonder, surprise, possibility in each experience and encounter that is a core aspect of joy.
We can help the way we look at the world through changing our perspective, like how some people see the world as half-empty, you can see the world at half-full. It’s a way to say, count your blessings; like maybe the breakfast you had, the warm bed you snoozed an extra half hour in this morning, or perhaps the ice cream cone you treated yourself with. Gratitude is the elevation of enjoyment, the ennobling of enjoyment. Gratitude is one of the key dimensions in the definition of joy. It’s the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life, all that has made it possible for us to have this life, and all that makes the very moments we experience. Thanksgiving is a natural response to life and our way of savoring every one of these moment. Gratefulness allows us to shift our perspective toward all we have given and all we have. It moves us away from the narrow-minded focus on fault and lack to the wider perspective of benefit and abundance.
“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful. It’s gratefulness that makes us happy. Every moment is a gift.”
There is no certainty how many moments we will have; we can never be too sure if our next moment will be our last, but the gift within every gift of a moment is the opportunity it offers us. Sometimes that gift is a difficult one that can be, in turn, an opportunity to rise to the challenge. The shift in perspective is the ability to be grateful for the opportunities that exist — even the difficult ones . This gratefulness allows us to see the reality of our circumstances but also see how we can be enriched in every experience. Gratitude means embracing reality. It means moving from counting your burdens to counting your blessings.
Even suffering can be enriching. It helps us develop empathy and compassion for others. Difficult situations don’t leave any room for pretense. In adversity or tragedy, we are left with no choice but to confront reality for what it is an when we are confronted with the reality of suffering, all of life is laid bare and no one can pretend to be something special anymore. Even royalty cannot pretend to be anything more than a beggar in the midst of suffering.
We are all human beings, suffering like all others, and when we are faced with adversity, we need to cultivate equanimity.
DAY 36. Love, Ro