Gratitude without Rainbows and Meadows

When was the last time you were feeling ungrateful? It's hard to admit but be brave for a minute. You know you should be grateful but it's hard when it's an ordinary day and there are things in your life that aren't going well. We sometimes associate gratitude with a cheerful disposition. We get so annoyed when others who always seem grateful, have rainbows spilling out of their ears and they're skipping through a Tuesday like they're in a meadow with colorful streamers trailing behind them.

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How can you feel cheerful when so much in your life seems wrong or out of balance? You're feeling overwhelmed by too many responsibilities and problems and the three-ring circus that is your life. You don't have time to feel grateful. How can we be thankful for an ordinary day full of the same messy circumstances?

I feel ya' and I'm right there with you. I get it.

And even when I'm feeling this way, when the alarm goes off, the first thing I do is list 3 blessings. I absolutely do this -- even when I don't wanna' and I'd rather pull the pillow over my head. Every morning before I reach for my phone and start scrolling, and before I have a cup of coffee or take a shower -- I lie in bed and think of 3 good things. Just 3. As I'm yawning and wiping my eyes from the crusty remains of allergies, I take a mental inventory of 3 things for which I am thankful. Do you know what happens? I almost always list more than 3. Gratitude helps your attitude and gets your day heading in a positive direction...(without rainbows and meadows.)

But throughout the day -- the ordinary days when we feel like we're in the hamster wheel, doing the same thing, going to the same places, seeing the same people, buying the same food -- we forget to be grateful for doing those things and seeing those people and eating the same foods.

We forget to be thankful because we overlook the blessing's simplicity. When I look through my kitchen cabinets and refrigerator deciding what to make for dinner (again because the people who live with me ask every -- single -- day - what are we having?) I slow down and think for a moment how many people don't have food in their pantry, or working appliances, or no one to share a meal with them. They're lonely which is a horrible hunger too. Suddenly the chore of making dinner for my family isn't a chore at all. It's a blessing.

I'm going to try and appreciate all of the normal events of the day and treasure the daily blessings. It's not easy - I don't always succeed and some days we just feel grumpy and out of sorts. It's okay. We're human. Forgive yourself and move on. Take time to appreciate the ordinary days, the boring days, the uneventful days because you'll want them back when you face pain mixed in with the beautiful ordinary moments. It's easy to give up and say I don't have anything to be grateful for and some days its hard to keep trying to find the good. Do it anyway. #alwaysbegrateful

Make Time for Happiness

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Do you make space for happiness?
Is there room in your life for a little bit of whimsy on an ordinary day?

Or do you crowd your day with lists and more lists...and they all need checking off but you never seem to finish? Do you make the phone calls, return the emails, and waste time waiting at appointments? Are you trying hard to focus during meetings but THEN make more lists for all of it to get done and you organized for the next day? The next week?

But how do you feel right now in this second?

When you fill up your time and life with the “gottas” what happens is that your days turn into busy weeks. Your weeks become months that you can’t remember and feel like a blur and then BAM 💥 it’s Thanksgiving and you start on your to-do list for another year.

We’re so busy filling up our space with the musts that we sometimes forget to enjoy an ordinary moment. The delight of paying attention to your life, right now. The time and space when someone or something makes you smile.

This is what happened to me yesterday.

I was slammed busy from the moment I woke up at 5am until after dark and I was driving home from the gym. I had one more stop to make before I could go home and probably throw in a load of laundry to squeeze just one more thing in my day. We needed creamer and milk. That’s it. Just those two things on the list. (Can’t get away from lists.) I planned to run in to the grocery store, grab those two items, then head home.

But this yellow-faced guy (pictured) stopped me. A $5.00 Sunflower 🌻 changed my crazy, busy day in an instant. I could’ve walked by his sweet, sunny face and ignored how I felt when I saw him sitting there with the others.

It made me happy and I just stood there for a moment and let it make me happy. I enjoyed the moment. I made space for happiness.

Then, true to my list...I bought the creamer, the milk and a $5.00 sunflower.