In November everyone pauses in light of Thanksgiving to reflect on the gifts of their lives. In recent years, we have participated in and been witness to this daily reflection on social media. It can be a beacon of light in the darkness that surrounds us; it reminds us that there is always something to be grateful for even in the storm.
Gratitude, when practiced even for a few moments, has the power to change lives, but it must be practiced. What I have often found though during November’s 30 days of Gratitude or even our 100 days of Happiness is that I get to the end of the day and I begin excavating the past 18 hours looking for one tiny moment to be grateful for. Perhaps it’s because my day felt as though I trudged through a minefield of ups and downs or maybe it’s because I felt the pressure to post something social-media worthy. Sometimes it’s a mixture of the above, but more often it’s because I wasn’t mindful of the moments that were before me when they were happening.
This realization lead me to my bookshelf because I practically have a library of books on gratitude. You would think having read this embarrassing amount of books on the topic that I would be walking through life singing praises at every turn. Alas, I am not. I have fallen victim to the idea of measuring the success of each day, as well as gratitude, by its productivity rather than genuine peace, love and happiness. Can anyone relate?
As I browsed my bookshelf I came upon a book that really did change the way I looked at gratitude a few years ago. It caused me to look at my life and see it for all the tiny moments that happen everyday rather than trying to find the needle in the haystack at the end of a long 24 hours. Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts challenged me to dissect every moment as it was happening. In fact, I wrote about this book almost two years ago on our blog and referenced this quote of hers:
“…The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.”
By sharing our gratitude we are sharing our joy. We are letting our abundance spill out into the world and hopefully run into someone else’s life. If you have read any of Ann Voskamp’s work you know that her life has not been easy and yet she continually speaks of abundance. Her books and her blog speak of the tiniest details of life; a cup of tea, watching her mom stir homemade soup on the stove, watching the first snow fall over her farm. These tiny details add up to a full and abundant life, but only if you are seeking them.
I am challenging myself as well as you to keep a little notebook handy over the holidays. Write down every moment you encounter that brings you joy. The last time I did this I found myself writing about the warmth of my socks, the lights twinkling on the tree, a quiet moment with a cup of tea, the sun shining into a corner of the room, the smell of a baby I was holding for someone, laughing with friends until I cried. These moments rarely make my “everyday” gratitude list and yet these are the very moments that make a life abundant.
Go live an intentionally abundant life full of joy, love, laughter, peace, tears and gratitude this holiday season and see how you feel as you begin the New Year.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G