by Ed and Deb Shapiro: The last year has not often been a time for being grateful, as it’s never easy when times are hard,
if we are sick or a relative is, or we lose our job. But perhaps these are the very best times to give thanks, specifically for the things we do have rather than those we don’t have. Instead of bemoaning that we have lost our health we can be grateful for the birds singing outside or the sun warming the window; rather than being jealous of someone who has a job while we don’t, we can be grateful for the extra time to be quiet and at peace.
Take a moment right now to appreciate the chair you are sitting on as you read this. Just consider what went into the making of this chair: the wood, cotton, wool or other fibers, the trees and plants that were made into these materials, the earth that grew the trees, the rain and sun, the animals that were involved, the people who prepared the materials, the factory where the chair was made, the designer and carpenter and seamstress, the shop where you bought it—all this just so you could be sitting here now.
Or think of your body and all the different organs and functions and systems that sustain your life, such as your heart, your digestion, or your immune system that protects you from illness. Or the food that nourishes you and where it came from and all the people and plants and weather and transport that were needed to get that food to your table.
You can apply this to everything, as nothing is unrelated or disconnected, every single thing is a part of everything else and all are needed to make a whole. It’s an endless stream of connectedness that comes together to enable you to be in this moment, reading this, on your chair. And you still don’t think you have anything to be grateful for or worth appreciating?
We invite you to develop an ongoing relationship with gratitude by making a list of things to “remember to appreciate.” You can do this hourly, daily, weekly, finding different things to appreciate each time. Anything can go on that list: pets, people, toenails, trees, weather… Here are a few of the things we came up with that we often forget to appreciate:
The washing machine
Then say “Thank you!” Repeat it out loud over and over, as if it were a mantra. We can never give enough thanks or have enough gratitude, let it fill every moment, every thought and every feeling. Experiencing gratitude is totally transformational.
Ed & Deb are the authors of The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation, and The Art of Mindful Relaxation. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com