About 100 years ago, Oprah had a woman on her show who's name I can't remember. The theme of the show was gratitude. During the course of the program, it was suggested that we all keep a gratitude journal. The idea intrigued me so for a long time I kept a gratitude journal.
The exercise was simple. Every night before you go to bed you write down 5 things you are grateful for that day. The benefits of the exercise were two fold. The first is obvious, it's good to recognize the blessings in your life. The second was the added benefit of falling asleep with those blessings on your mind.
The first few nights of this practice were fairly easy. I was grateful for my healthy children, I was grateful to have a job, I was grateful that I had a roof over my head and food on the table, etc.... after that it got a bit harder. Some days I was simply grateful the day was over.
I wasn't about to give up on the gratitude challenge that easily. I was bound and determined to find something to be grateful for if it was the last thing I did! (isn't that hilarious?!) And so my day would be spent looking for things to be grateful for. That changed everything. Suddenly the annoying, irritating things that happened through out the day were just minor distractions on the journey to find things that made me feel grateful.
The journal quickly filled with the simply things in life that made me smile. Things like the sweet smell of the top of my baby's head while I rocked her to sleep. The cool breeze on my skin as I sat on the front stoop talking to my neighbor. The quiet in the house after everyone went to sleep.
Our lives are filled with blessings and beautiful moments or difficulties. It's a matter of perspective. If we can step back from the difficulties and look at them from a clear, objective state we will recognize that even the difficulties are blessings. They are perhaps the most important blessings because they give us an opportunity to grow and learn.
It's easy to be grateful for the good things in life. When you can feel gratitude for the challenges then you know you are getting somewhere. Start your own gratitude journal and see for yourself how changing your perspective can change your life.
Om Shanti Om! (If you can't think of anything you feel grateful for be grateful you're not a turkey!)