Thank you Virgin Trains for transporting me across the country as I write this, and Apple for my wonderful Macbook Pro. Thank you Nick the fruit grower at the market for the amazing apple I’m munching, and for the rain and sun and apple cultivar breeders….shall I go on, or would you rather boil your head than read on?
Whatever your answer, I’m actually feeling good for all that gratitude. It’s endless; the potential thanks due for all the things that support us, most of which we take entirely for granted.
Try this: as soon as you wake up, start finding things to be thankful for. The comfort of the bed, the quiet time you’ve had to sleep, your partner not snoring for a while, the near perfect mix of oxygen and other gases filtering through the window which have been silently keeping us alive all night, the nice rug under our feet as we swing our legs out of bed. Etc.
Your list could continue endlessly all day. How about thanks too for the teenager barging past you with a grunt, the traffic jam, the sneer from your boss for being late, the angry-sounding email from a client…because when we get challenged, we have an opportunity to learn how to become a more tolerant human being and to put our mindfulness practice to the test.
So what’s the point of all this? Why not just carry on being grumpy as normal?
Well, it’s simple. Just like kindness, it’s a win-win situation. It makes us feel better about our life, and then we’re more likely to be nice and to stop blaming others. That makes life less stressful, so our energy is better. We’ll probably do better at work and in our relationships.
It’s also an antidote to ‘duality’; seeing the world as separate from ourselves, and hostile. My experience is that if I get self-pitying, I’ll soon start blaming stuff around me, as if everything is stacked against me. This is a no-win place. It’s also self-perpetuating. And it’s all in my head.
Gratitude keeps us grounded and stops the negative spiral from developing, and it’s easy to do. It’s the low-hanging fruit of mindfulness practice.
So, apologies if this essay has a preachy tone. But here’s a suggestion, because I believe it’s a core practice (hoho) and you should try it: spend at least 5 minutes a day dedicated to listing off all the things you’re grateful for. Even better, write it down and read it the next day, then go off on another round of thank-yous.
Thanks for reading! And thanks for the email you’re about to send me saying thanks for writing these blogs!