Clean your glasses…

“Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery.  It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors.”

Richelle E. Goodrich

I have written several times over the years about the transformational power of practicing gratitude intentionally through the use of a “gratitude journal.” (you can find some of those posts here)

Awareness of all the gifts I have received is a daily practice for me and is something that I have woven into several places throughout my daily routine. I found that I needed to do this to ensure that I find moments of time throughout the day to clear the “smudges” from the glasses through which I see the world. It is just too easy to get caught up in the all the activity and busyness of life and forget how richly blessed we all are.

The world has a way of obscuring our ability to truly see what is right in front of us. The analogy that comes to mind is how a swimmer has to be intentional in cleaning their goggles to ensure that they can see where they are going. If you don’t then the goggles will invariably fog up and you have no idea where you are going. This might not matter much in a pool, but when you are swimming in a lake or the ocean it can make a huge difference.

Regularly practicing gratitude awareness is truly transformational. It legitimately changes how you see the world. It wipes away the fog that gets in the way of your growth and progress.

If you haven’t tried this yet, I highly encourage you to simply start by taking your daily planner, journal, notebook, (whatever system you use to manage your day) and writing down three things you are grateful for when you first wake up. It won’t take long, no more than a minute or two. Look at this list throughout the day. Add to it if you like. Then before bed write down three more things. Bullets are fine. Single words are fine. Again, it doesn’t have to take long. As the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months you will find that how you approach your life will change. Instead of taking so many things for granted, you will have the power to appreciate the richness of the gifts and blessings we each receive on a daily basis.

Life is too short not to fully live it. Be thankful for each day you have and don’t let your glasses or goggles become so smudged that you can’t recognize how blessed you are…

Say thank you…

“Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone.”

Gertrude Stein

Close your eyes. Think of one person who did something for you in the past 24-hours that you haven’t thanked. Now open your eyes. Take action to express your gratitude within the next hour. Write a note, send a text, pick up the phone, walk next door and find the person. Just don’t delay.

Say what needs to be said, who knows, you might change that persons entire day.

What am I most grateful for in life today?

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”

James Allen

I journal daily and one of my practices is to think through the past 24 hours and reflect on what I am most grateful for in life. I am often amazed that no matter what else is going, no matter how busy or crazy or challenging life is at the moment, the simple practice of finding the things that I appreciate and am thankful for right now serves to reset my mental state and puts my focus back on what is truly important. Giving thanks to God for the many blessings I have been given, that I don’t deserve, puts everything else in perspective.

What’s interesting to me is that when I miss a day or two here and there because life gets busy I don’t feel as grounded or focused. I find myself focused on living, instead of why I am living. Practicing gratitude as a habit has become part of my worship time and helps keep me grounded in what is truly important.

If you have never tried it start by simply answering the question “What am I most grateful for in life today?” with 2-3 single sentences. It will take less than five minutes so give it a try and challenge yourself to do it for an entire month. See if instead of a chore it becomes a habit you look forward to each day.

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