May 18, 2017
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
One of the things that I have learned over the years has been the value of gratitude. It seems like some of us move so fast we never take the time to realize just how good our lives rally are. If you think about it it is the people in our lives that contribute the most to our wellbeing. And yet far too few of us stop to assess how important our friends, coworkers and family to our happiness.
We spend so much time dealing with the unusual that we just take for granted the folks that really matter. It is the same with our experiences, we fret so much about the detours that we fail to appreciate the road. When you take the time to pay attention to the good in your life I find that the light that is always there wipes out the shadows that are often of little importance.
Marc Chernoff wrote a piece sometime ago that includes reminders of the impoertant things we often overlook. Here is an edited copy of what he wrote.
8 Things You Forgot to Be Grateful For
- The unique privilege of being YOU. – YOU are one of a kind. You are lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everyone else. Embrace your individuality. Self-worth comes from one thing: thinking that you are worthy. So appreciate what it feels like underneath your own skin. You are amazing just the way you are.
- Every single experience that led you to today. – Life isn’t about a single moment of great triumph and attainment. It’s about the trials and errors that get you there – the blood, sweat, and tears – the small, inconsequential things you do every day. It all matters in the end – every step, every regret, every decision, and every affliction.
- What your daily struggles are teaching you. – Challenges are what make life interesting; working to overcome them is what gives life meaning. Failure and struggles keep you humble, success and achievement keep you glowing, but only faith and determination keeps you going. So stay focused, and celebrate your efforts too, not just your outcomes.
- The gift of now. – In between all your goals, priorities, obligations, and everything else that might appear on one of your upcoming to-do lists, there are moments called “life” that still have to be lived and enjoyed. The trick is to make the very best of now, and value it for what it’s worth. In other words, don’t wish all your time away by waiting for better times ahead. Smile, right now, because you can.
- The way every moment is a new beginning. – If you feel stressed and stuck, let go, take a deep breath and appreciate the fact that this moment is a new beginning. Stop thinking about what might have been and starting looking at what can be. Right now is a perfect time to start over. This moment is a brand new opportunity to rebuild what you truly want.
- The familiar faces, places and situations you rely on daily. – As Cynthia Ozick once said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
- A reasonably healthy body. – In other words, if you got sick today you could recover. Never underestimate the gift of your health. It’s the greatest wealth you will ever own.
- The fact that you are online reading this. – Not only are you wealthy enough to be online right now, but you can read too.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie
Moe and Lenny are strolling home from Shul one Saturday morning.
Suddenly a cab speeds past, and their friend, Irving, is running frantically behind it, flailing his arms wildly.
“Well,” said Lenny. “I never imagined our good friend Irving was a Sabbath violator! Look at him running for that taxi.”
“Wait a minute,” Moe replied. “Didn’t you read that book I lent you, ‘The Other Side of the Story,’ about the command to judge other people favorably? I’ll bet we can think of hundreds of excuses for Irving’s behavior.”
“Yeah, like what?”
“Maybe he’s sick and needs to go to the hospital.”
“Come on! He was running 60 miles an hour after that cab, he’s healthier than Arnold Schwartzennegger.”
“Well, maybe his wife’s having a baby.”
“She had one last week.”
“Well, maybe he needs to visit her in the hospital.”
“Well, maybe he’s running to the hospital to get a doctor.”
“He is a doctor.”
“Well, maybe he needs supplies from the hospital.”
“The hospital is a three minute walk in the opposite direction.”
“Well, maybe he forgot that it’s Shabbos!”
“Of course he knows it’s Shabbos. Didn’t you see his tie? It was his paisley beige l00% silk Giovanni tie from Italy. He never wears it during the week.”
“Wow, you’re really observant! I didn’t even notice he was wearing a tie.”
“How could you not notice? Didn’t you see how it was caught on the back fender of the taxi?”
“Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.”
A professor at the Michigan State University was known for giving boring, cliché-ridden lectures.
At the beginning of one semester, an innovative class breathed new life into the course by assigning baseball plays to each hackneyed phrase.
For example, when the professor said, “On the other hand,” that counted as a base hit. “By the same token” was a strike out; “and so on” counted as a stolen base. Divided into two teams by the center aisle of the lecture hall, the students played inning after inning of silent but vigorous baseball.
On the last day of class, the impossible happened: the score was tied and bases were loaded. Then the batter hit a home run! The winning team stood and cheered wildly.
Though deeply appreciative, the professor later was quoted as wondering why only half of the students had been enthusiastic about his lectures.
Jill complained to Nina, “Rosey told me that you told her the secret I told you not to tell her.”
“Well,” replied Nina in a hurt tone, “I told her not to tell you I told her.”
“Oh dear!” sighed Jill. “Well, don’t tell her I told you that she told me.”
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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