Lately I’ve been undergoing a major lifestyle change. I’ve brought along one of my best friends for the ride. She was headed that way, too so we figured we’d take the path together as far as we could. We were both tired and frustrated and seemingly angry quite a lot. Even when we didn’t feel angry, others took our moods, our ambiance, as anger.
Granted; we both had a considerable amount of “stuff” on our plates. Health issues – our own and others, work issues, relationship issue – But who doesn’t?
But we were allowing it to consume us. Me much more than she; I’ll be the first to admit. And honestly, if I hadn’t had her around to ‘keep me in check,’ I might have been a right mess. I was off track and headed for the weeds.
We started practicing gratitude. Every few days at first. Now multiple times daily. For me it pushed out into the world in full force with this post about gratitude. Since then, we’ve been making a concerted effort to share our experiences with each other and others.
It’s amazing how much strength and power those two little words, Thank You, have on the recipient, the giver and even on others not actively involved.
Gratitude, however, isn’t only expressed in Thank yous. We’ve also actively been recognizing in others positive attitudes, appearances, etc.
An example, I was in line at a store behind a lovely, but extremely tired and drained looking woman. Her hair was askew and her clothes were disheveled. I knew the feeling – “Today has been draining and I just need to get home.” Her appearance and attitude resonated with exhaustion.
But the other thing I noticed was how perfectly her glasses set off her eyes – the beauty and luminance in them despite the exhaustion.
As she was moving her cart forward, I very gently touched her hand. She looked up at me – startled (no one makes physical contact anymore, there’s a post in me about that, coming soon). I looked right into her eyes and told her that her glasses looked very nice on her, made her eyes really stand out – beautiful. She was so shocked that she couldn’t say anything at first. Then, with a little tear in the corner of her eye, she thanked me and hustled away quickly.
I don’t know what affect it had on the rest of her day, but it brightened my day, as well as the day of the cashier who witnessed it. The cashier even said that she was so impressed with the gesture that she was going to start recognizing and complimenting customers as they come through her lane. I hope she does.
I know on the surface it doesn’t seem like that example is an expression of gratitude – but it is. Being grateful for the beauty put in front of us is something that needs to be seen, recognized, and acknowledged. I may not have thanked that woman, but through my gesture, I thanked the universe.
I’ve been actively working to see with clear and open eyes, mind, and heart what is offered at any given day or time. It’s amazing what you see with just a small amount of focus.
This has been so powerful, such a driving force in my life lately that I felt the need to share it.
If this ‘mushy’ stuff isn’t for you, don’t get caught up in that and please don’t stop following. You never know when a random post might just be what you needed to ‘hear’ that day.
You will be amazed at the changes that will occur in you and around you if you open yourself up to them.
Mahatma Ghandi is attributed with one of my favorite quotes – “Be the Change you Want to See in the World.” I’d like to hope I’m doing that.
It can be a challenge at times, I’ll say that. People aren’t always welcoming and receptive.
And putting love and appreciation out there – offering words, sympathy, support and encouragement – WITHOUT the expectation of acknowledgement and/or reciprocation can be very difficult. We’re cultured to expect (and provide) a response to everything, especially such gestures.
But the real gift, to self especially, is when you can give without that expectation. The not knowing if the offering has been received is a part of the growth.
It’s Fourth of July this week and we often forget in the midst of pool parties, cookouts, and fireworks that people sacrificed for us.
Sometimes everything. So that we could have all the blessings in our lives.
Though we often think of this in terms of soldiers, I can’t think of a single person I know that hasn’t had to sacrifice in some way so that others could have opportunities. **This is NOT meant to discount in any way the gift soldiers, their families, and their friends have given. I have many such people in every one of my circles. I’m simply asking you to actively think beyond them this time.
I’d like to put a challenge out there this week – express gratitude to someone – every day. For anything you can think of. Actively seek out new ways to demonstrate. Come back to this post and share, please. I look forward to all the clever ideas.
In Light & Love and with Much Gratitude to you all
Giving without expectation. That is indeed to real thing. Thanks for this encouragement to share gratitude with others.
It is an interesting thing to realize that we’ve been cultured to give, but to also expect something in return. It turns the gifting into almost a ‘chore.’
Once we lose this expectation, gift giving becomes such a blessing.
Thank you Janelle ~