My friend, Karen, is a gratitude expert. Even after the sudden death of her beloved husband, she kept on thanking God—not only for the love she was lifted up by, but also for all kinds of gifts that most of us would call “little things”. Karen does volunteer work, running a resource center for the homeless. When we last had breakfast she said, “I went into this work thinking that I would be able to help make a difference in the lives of others, but I’m the one who has been given the gift of the people I serve.” She is grateful for what the people she helps bring to HER life. What a role model for gratitude!
I mentioned quantum physics a couple of weeks ago. This science supports the idea that the more we express heart-filled, genuine gratitude, the more we find to be thankful for. When we experience the feeling of being grateful, our eyes are opened to more things that fall into that category. In the world of advertising this would be called Top-of-Mind-Awareness (TOMA). It refers to what you immediately (or naturally) think of in a myriad of situations: where to have dinner, what car you’d love to own, where you’ll buy your next refrigerator. These automatic responses are created by YOU, the consumer, because you’re regularly exposed to—and influenced by— different brands or businesses. You create a positive bias toward certain things. It’s the same with gratitude. The more we practice it; the more it becomes “top of mind”. Simple processes like saying, “Thank You God” before you even get out of bed, pave the way for a day—which leads to a week, which leads to a month, which leads to a year—of gratitude.
We were talking about playing the lottery when my friend, Linda, told me that people who play the lottery are, in general, happier. It seems that “they experience gratitude as they think about the people they want to buy things for and do things with”. If you took a blank piece of paper and wrote down what you’d do if nothing was “off-limits”, what would be on that list? What parts of your life today would stay on the list? Those people, situations or things are a great “Gratitude Starting Point”!
We often get really good at recognizing when things don’t go right, but forget to acknowledge when things are just plain wonderful. Let’s take the time, to be “in the moment”, to smile, to laugh, to speak our truth, to listen to one another to honor our journey and to say “thanks”.
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #49. Be aware of the simple things that make you smile; a butterfly, a flower pushing through the ground, a familiar song. If you don’t smile often, seek those things out, so that you can say, “Wow, thank you God!”