As one year folds itself into the past and another is stretching out into the future, it’s a good time to reflect
. This year, I’m thinking about the ups and downs that came with 2016, but I keep coming back to something that’s helped me weather those waves. Gratitude.
It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well, like when you’ve finished that big project, gotten that promotion, or started some other pleasant chapter. But not all of life’s moments are that amazing.
What can we be grateful for in the ordinary day-to-day? What if we started with thankfulness for another day of life? Each one holds the potential for any number of things to happen. Sometimes they’re difficult; sometimes they’re wonderful; sometimes it’s hard to pick any details out from the blur. I try to start each morning with a little prayer of thankfulness, to recognize each day as a gift.
A change came as I did my best to keep this up. I began seeing more and more to be thankful for. My family, friends, job, health, home . . . backyard birds at my feeders, sunsets, how snow clings prettily to bare branches (but not everything snow does).
We can’t control what happens around us, and sometimes we let those things get to us. But we can cultivate a positive attitude
. We can take a moment to find a place of calm
amid the stress, to rationally detach
and take a more balanced view of situations.
Photo: beaucroft / iStock
I remember when I went to Rome with my high school choir, and what one chaperone said on our last night. She drew a dot in the middle of a flip chart and asked us what we saw. “A dot,” we all said. Then she told us to look at that dot and think about all the difficult times on this trip. She told us how it’s so easy to focus on the negative until it’s all you can see. When you stop and take a wider perspective, you notice all the space around that dot, all the good moments and the potential for more good to come, and suddenly that dot is a lot smaller.
There are many kinds of moments that could bring some spark of wonder or peace into your day. Moments of humor, compassion
, resolution, prevention
, when something went right or didn’t go as wrong as it could have. They can add up to realizations of how small those dark spots can be on the canvas of your life. The challenge is taking the time to notice and appreciate those moments. It’s not always easy, especially in stressful times, but it can make a difference in your day and your outlook.
Here’s to another year! I wish you all a year filled with moments to be thankful for.