Gratitude is something that can be practiced no matter the situation I am in. As long as there is breath in my lungs, there is something to be grateful for. I am working on a memoirette called Through the Pane and it is chronicling my life and the pain I experience.
I know what it feels like to be in pain. I know what it feels like to think I will never be free of painful sensations. In those moments it is the hardest to be grateful, but also the most important of times to practice gratitude.
You might say, ‘But my neck hurts, what do I have to be grateful for?’ And yes, that pain might stay forefront in your mind. But with little effort, you can pair that painful awareness with gratitude.
Now this is not science, more anecdotal from my own experience, but I know that being grateful helps lessen my pain.
Life with gratitude becomes more manageable because I see all the work that has been done by other humans to improve my stay here. Also I see the majesty of God or the universe when I go walking about nature. And when I feel a moment of peace with or without pain, I am able to reflect on gratitude.
What does gratitude feel like?
To me, it feels like wanting to do something good for another, not in order to get something back, but knowing my actions will change their life for the better. It is being aware that these actions may lead me to be in another’s good graces. That’s a good thing right? But a nuance here. Being in another’s good graces is secondary to doing the deed for them out of gratitude. In fact, if your deed is a means to an end, it is not so much from a place of gratitude.
Gratitude does not need two parties present to be practiced. I am grateful for the house I am in, even though I do not know the builders. I am aware that builders studied and constructed before and after they built my house. I am sitting on a couch, typing on a computer, smiling because I know how much effort went into all that which is around me.
It is easy to miss that magic day to day because of the familiarity of things. But it is just as easy to take a moment and be grateful for the invisible work that was done in the past, allowing for the comforts we have today.
Lastly, I think it is important to be grateful for the work I do. Self gratifying it definitely is, but it is necessary. Had it not been for my choice to study creative writing, I may not have had the capacity to share my stories. I am grateful for the grit it took to get through some darker times. I am grateful that I practice gratitude, because I like who I am because of it.
I do not usually have a call to action here, but here it is: I challenge you to check off three things you are grateful for right now. They can be creative, or simple. But don’t just think about them. Take the time, when you have it, to write them down.
I hope you are well, and stay grateful!