THE GRATITUDE BLOG POST
There’s always been talk about gratefulness and how good it is. We hear about how it makes us appreciate what we have and how it turns what we have into enough. It is said that being grateful has grounding and healing effects and that gratitude is the glue that holds society and relationships together. It is supposed to be uplifting and life-affirming and it is what keeps the most noble qualities of human kind alive: compassion, generosity, grace, kindness.
To me, gratitude is a powerful emotion that suddenly overcomes me. It is a euphoric feeling of appreciation and happiness that suddenly takes over my mood and it happens at random situations, it doesn’t just happen at times when everything is honky-dory. Gratitude overwhelms me too when I realize that the difficult situation, experience or moment I was going through, brought me closer to a better reality or to a better version of myself. Or even that it just helped me realize how lucky I really am.
So. Why practice gratitude? And how can you practice it? What are the true benefits of being a grateful person? There is a very simple exercise that I do every now and then, when I am feeling less that grateful and more like bitter which, let’s face it; happens often. In these situations, I like to sit down with a pen and paper and just start writing about everything -and I mean everything- that comes to mind regarding moments that make me feel grateful. I don’t just focus on the big things either, it could be anything. It looks a little bit like this;
I am grateful for music, because it is the cheapest form of therapy, the safest remedy, the best healer and the timeless, ageless companion; little did The Beatles know when they recorded “Here Comes the Sun” in 1969 that it would still bring four decades later, a huge smile to someone’s face. Shout out to the approximate 70 trillion cells in my body whose sole purpose of existence is to serve just me. I thank my kid’s bus driver who every morning has a huge smile on his face and has the best attitude of anyone I’ve met. I am grateful to the Rocky Mountains because they move and inspire me in so many ways. I feel like I need to thank tortillas, because they are delicious and so awesomely versatile; they could be tacos (soft or crunchy), tostadas, chips, gorditas, and much more. I am grateful for a local cookie shop in Colorado that operates under the rule of the “honor system”, for making me believe in human goodness again. I am grateful for my Christmas tree lights that only work when I shake them; I feel like we have a special relationship. I thank the spanish speaking patient who inconspicuously shared her ancestral secret recipe for beans while at a medical appointment in my job as an Interpreter. I am grateful for mean people because they remind me of who I don’t want to be. I appreciate conversations with older people that want to share stories and experiences with me. I am thankful for my kids who are my wisest teachers and toughest judges; they are the reason why I strive to better myself everyday and contribute to this beautiful world that they will inherit. I am grateful to my Herbalist teacher and mentor in California for her genuine selflessness, because it is so rare to find these days. I appreciate my parents every day and even more so after I had children of my own. I thank Rumi and other poets like him for his wisdom and insightfulness as they inspire me daily. I am grateful to be a woman because amongst many other things, it allowed me to give birth twice and go through one of the most magical experiences of my life. I want to thank who ever invented deodorants; the world is a better place when we are not stinky hot messes! I am grateful for curse words, because they give me relief when I feel like I am about to lose it. I am grateful for my Mexican heritage because I feel infused with so much culture, richness and ancestral wisdom. I am grateful for high heels because they make me feel so chic and glamorous. But mostly, I am grateful for that moment when I get to take them off. I am grateful for the difficult lessons because they embellish and polish me. Shout out to bacon because, well; bacon. I am thankful for breakfast because it is my favorite meal of the day and for belly aches after large meals, because they remind me that my stomach is approximately the size of my fist. I am thankful for annoying people because they teach me patience. I am grateful for rainy days, because they make me appreciate the sunny ones. Shout out to rainbows because they are awesome. I really appreciate good hair days because they don’t come very often. I am thankful for my iPhone; this epic little piece of technology makes my life so much easier. I am also grateful for those moments when my iPhone is off or out of reach. I feel so grateful for moments when I feel most creative and when I realize that the human mind is an ocean of possibilities. I am grateful for pajamas; I cannot say enough about how great they are. I am grateful for strangers that treat me like family, and for family members who treat me like a stranger. I am grateful to be able to live in the United States where immigrants like myself make it so rich, diverse and interesting and add to the most varied culinary experiences. I am grateful for the Debbie Downers of the world, because they keep us, the naïve, hopeful dreamers, grounded. I am grateful for the moment when that epic song comes on in the car and you get to sing it like your life depended on it. I am thankful for long hikes and nature walks because they remind me of how interconnected everything is and of how small I am in the big picture of things. I am grateful for warm cups of tea in calm moments of introspection. I am grateful for tiny hands curled up inside mine. I feel gratitude for long laughs and good cries, new friends and familiar faces, soft kisses and big hugs, long talks, patio lights, barbecues, piñatas, chocolate, churros, wine, fireflies, ajolotes, skiing, yoga, sad movies, dancing, mariachis, good food, good company, babies, massages, pan de muerto, good morning texts, antiques, Christmas morning, Day of the Dead and Thanksgiving dinner. I am grateful for each person that has crossed my path. I am grateful for what I was, for what I am and for what I am becoming and for every single serendipitous event in my life that brought me to where I am today.
I could go on with this list for days, but I think you get the main idea. What it makes me realize is that life really is about living in the now. Being grateful helps us be aware of every moment in our lives and it helps us realize that in the end, even the crappy ones are good ones. Grateful people understand that when you live acknowledging everything that you receive and when you can still be amazed at the little things, you find happiness, contentment and pleasure in the simplest of things and in every moment of your life.
After writing down your gratitude list, what more do you ask for? what more do you need? Nothing, is the answer. And that is what gratefulness does.