“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting what we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
I got e-mail the other day from a reader in Europe who said he woke up grateful because he was alive and fairly well. He said focusing on being grateful kept him from the doldrums or words to that effect. I know we have touted gratefulness before but his message reminded me that stopping to be grateful for what we do have often is a great way to avoid the side effects that come from unpleasant events.
The past few days we have had auto repairs that were more costly than what we paid for our first car. It took a big bite out of our budget, but you know what I am grateful that I have a car, most do not. I am grateful that my auto is now safer and that its life has been extended. I am also grateful that it has been my trusted steed and did not breakdown on me in the middle of nowhere. Yep, I am fortunate. If you think about it we all are. All we need to do is learn to appreciate that we are alive and have more than we realize.
I recently stumbled across a piece by the Happyboomernurse, Gail Sobotkin that promotes gratitude that I would like to share with you this morning, Here is what she wrote.
Gratitude Quotes That Foster Happiness
When we choose to live in a state of gratitude we view life as the gift it is and appreciate all the positive things in our lives. The first thing I do each morning is take a deep breath and thank God for the start of a brand new day. As a nurse, I’ve seen people with lung diseases and terminal diseases struggle for each breath and this taught me to fully appreciate the fact that the ability to simply breathe is a blessing which most take for granted.
Florence Nightingale said, “Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift.” Nurses are more aware than most of the fragility and preciousness of this thing we call the life force. One moment we’re here, and in the next breath we could be gone. Various faiths explain what happens after death in different ways and those who have only their own personal beliefs may feel all existence ends at the time of death. Such things may be up for debate and no one knows for sure what happens when we die, but we all know that our time on earth is limited. The wise among us, celebrate life as a splendid gift to be savored, not wasted.
Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.” I am grateful that I have the ability to plant seeds of joy wherever I go and make a conscious effort to do so whenever possible. Spreading smiles, love, kind words, kind thoughts and actions costs nothing and brings great joy into my own life and I’ve found that it’s a natural antidote to depression. When I focus on helping others I am less focused on my own problems or worries.
In this regard, we can learn from the bees whose work ensures the beauty in our world by pollenating flowers:
“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” ~ Saint John Chrysotom.
As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.
Tom and Darryl were out hunting deer. Tom asked, “Did you see that?”
“No,” Darryl replies.
“Well, a bald eagle just flew overhead.”
“Oh,” responded Darryl.
A couple of minutes later, Tom said, “Did you see that?”
“Are you blind? There was a big, black bear walking on that hill, over there.”
A few minutes later Tom again said, “Did you see that?”
By now, Darryl is getting aggravated, so he says, “Yes, I did!”
And Tom says: “Then why did you step in it?”
The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship are “I apologize” and “You are right.”
He said: On my four-year-old daughter’s first trip to Disneyland, she couldn’t wait to get on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. As the car zoomed through the crazy rooms, into the path of a speeding train, and through walls that fell away at the last second, she clutched the little steering wheel in front of her.
When the ride was over, she said to me a little shakily, “Next time, you drive. I didn’t know where I was going.”
A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.
Reginald B. Mansell
Visiting St Patrick’s Cathedral on a tour of New York City, my daughter and her children were awed by the sight. The kids were especially curious about the votive candles, so my daughter asked if they’d each like to light one. She explained that is it customary to say a prayer of petition or thanks, and she was careful to tell them that these are not like birthday candles.
“Do you have any questions?” she asked.
“No,” said the five-year-old, “but if there’s a pony outside, it’s mine.”
“I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.”
Mrs. Smith pulled Mrs. Jones out of earshot of the porch, where Mrs. Jones’ lovely young daughter, Linda, sat. “It is really none of my business,” whispered Mrs. Smith, “but have you noticed what your daughter is doing?”
“Why, no. Is she up to anything special?”
Mrs. Smith leaned closer. “Haven’t you noticed? She has started knitting tiny garments!”
Mrs. Jones’ troubled brow cleared. “Well, thank goodness,” she said smiling, “at last she has taken an interest in something besides running around with boys.”
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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