A “thank you” from a sales assistant after we’ve made a purchase is a polite gesture.
True gratitude touches the heart.
When reminiscing, my mother would enjoy telling stories of her adventures on the Amazon. On one occasion, she went with a group up river. The boat was tied to a tree and they were led along a jungle track to a small village. Having come from the sophistication and conveniences in Rio, the contrast was stark. The village was primitive. The huts had dirt floors and everything was basic and hand-made.
My mother was an artist and always carried a sketch book to draw whatever caught her eye; children playing, huts, dogs, chickens, plants and people. As she was chatting to one of the villagers, she admired a plant with a single flower growing in an old rusty can. Within a heartbeat, the woman picked the flower and gave it to my mother.
Forty-five years later, when my mother retold that story, she still became teary-eyed as she said “It was so kind. She had nothing and gave me the one beautiful thing she had.” That simple spontaneous gesture elicited gratitude that lasted a lifetime.
There is so much to be grateful for but often it can take considerable conscious effort to divert our focus from the humdrum to what is heart warming.
Taking time to be in the present moment, if only for a few minutes, can open the opportunity to really see, hear and feel what is going on around us. Just as our bodies carry on a gazillion functions without our awareness or control so life carries on and can pass us by. With a fresh perspective we can begin to feel grateful for simple, constant or changing things in our lives.
- The sun, rain, mist, snow, wind, a rainbow or a gentle breeze;
- People hurrying or lingering
- Tiny insects scurrying along the ground;
- Birds and butterflies;
- A child playing or cuddling for comfort;
- A faithful dog or cat;
- Friends meeting, eating, talking, sharing secrets or laughing together;
- Breathing, moving, stretching, walking;
I’m sure you can add to this list. The challenge is to find one thing, one small thing, to be grateful for every hour, and to reach into your heart to really feel grateful.
This is a feeling exercise, feeling grateful for things that are not possessions but are natural, such as the smile of a friend, a hummingbird at the feeder, a newborn foal or a kind or thoughtful act.
When you feel truly grateful, the cells in your body respond, your immune system is given a boost and you have the chance of feeling surprisingly good.
I challenge you to take 2-5 minutes as often as you can to breathe, observe and feel grateful for being alive, for your breath, for a beautiful day or something else. Try it and discover how good it feels to touch your heart with gratitude.
Be gentle and kind with yourself and others.
With my love,