Blinded By Daily Gratitude
Can you stand one more #grateful or
My ambivalence, I’ve decided, is because I haven’t fully understood the benefits of gratitude. I don’t really get it. Aren’t we all grateful? How does shouting it to the world once a year make it more meaningful?
Even when Oprah Winfrey had a whole show dedicated to her gratitude journal, I never did subscribe to the daily task of counting one’s blessings. Not that I am a horrible person incapable of thankfulness, I just naturally feel grateful for the major league blessings in my life like a cool family, a place to live, hot water, and plenty of food (that I save in the refrigerator only to be thwarted by family hunter-gatherers who possess a wanton disregard for my ability to savor).
I am very grateful.
Apparently, gratitude does wonders for our brains, but not the kind that we revel in once a year on Thanksgiving. No, that is not the kind of gratitude that grows brain cells. Gratitude that grows brain matter is achieved through recognizing small things – every single day.
Daily gratitude requires that we pay attention. It demands a clear reckoning of unexpected pleasures and small supports gifted to us throughout the day by a higher power. Our days are full of small gifts – if we can see them.
And after a recent incident at our house, I can see why this daily endeavor is enriching – and requires practice.
A few weeks ago, determined to make this recipe, I was searching for a flat of individually packaged cranberry juice bottles that I could have sworn we had purchased at a huge box store just weeks earlier. I scoured the garage, the spare fridge, and the storage shelves where non-perishables live until they are needed. Cranberry juice was nowhere to be found.
I was convinced I was losing my mind. Maybe I had only thought of buying it? Maybe this was the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The whole thing drove me crazy.
I went out to the garage with eagle eyes sharpened and looked again. Nothing was there. I had obviously made up a whole I-bought-juice scenario.
My husband arrived home from work while I was puttering in the kitchen trying to shift gears and settle into making dinner wondering what I could use to replace the cranberry juice. I wondered if he remember buying it?
His recollection was also sketchy, but he offered to go out and check.
He came back empty handed. We verbally re-enacted our last trip to the box store, but neither of us could state with certainty whether or not we had come home with a flat of juice bottles. I must have misremembered. A slow rise of panic started in the pit of my stomach. I did have a form of early dementia.
My son then arrived home after practice with a ceremonious slam of the door and his typical greeting, “MOM!” (He immediately assesses my whereabouts through the calls of a wild primate).
I asked him about the juice. “Didn’t we buy some?” I asked desperately. Clearly, I would not let it die even though Dave and I had both been on reconnaissance missions to the garage. Lee shrugged his shoulders and couldn’t have cared less. Being the stellar child he is, though, he offered to go check the fridge and garage again.
Keep in mind this is the child who can lose a florescent colored sock mocking him from the middle of the floor or a retainer in an underwear drawer. My child loses shoes simply because they are not on his feet.
Seconds later he strutted out to the spare fridge, opened the door and there was an undisturbed flat of individually packaged cranberry juices. They had evidently been hiding in plain sight in our spare fridge where Dave and I had both looked with no luck.
WHAT?! How did that even happen?
Talk about missing the obvious.
It’s not unlike the practice of daily gratitude. Unless we train ourselves to see the small gifts in each day, we miss the little things like canceled appointments that unexpectedly free up an afternoon on an otherwise crazy day or a friend’s spontaneous invitation for an excursion when you didn’t know how much you needed to get out.
On a daily basis, I am more and more grateful for days I can sleep in, for yoga pants that don’t look like yoga pants (but feel like pajamas), for peasant tops and other flowing shirts that hide my love of chocolate (for which I am equally grateful), for my husband who makes life far easier on me than it should be, and for Dave Barry and his Book of Bad Songs.
Yep, I’m grateful for all kinds of things these days.
I’m especially grateful that my kid can actually find things hiding in plain sight – and for the reminder that sometimes I am the one who misses the obvious.
Peace & Light,
The Busy Buddha
Edited by: Sara Neyer
FIND RECIPE HERE!
What are some of the "little things" that make you grateful?