Do you ever stop and thing, “WOW, it’s November 23, 2015… I’m ‘X’ years old. I’ve accomplished ‘Y’,” and just stare into space marveling at how time flies. Time is fleeting. Literally, “now” and this “moment” are already in the past as I type them. Once they move into the confines of the past they no longer exist…
Well that’s depressing, so let’s think about the future- AH the future, so much promise, so much ahead… yet does anything you ever project in the future happen exactly (i.e. Nostradamus style) the way you planned? No. Nope. Probably never. But does it always work out? Yeah, if you’re reading this, so far it has because you’re still alive.
So then back to the past, it’s so comforting to know that ‘X’ or ‘Y’ occurred isn’t it? Such fond, sweet memories like Clark Griswold sitting in his attic musing over years of yore… Oh wait, his memories and how everything actually happened don’t match up do they?
You see, our minds are programmed with little holes in them. We see the past through a kaleidoscope of pictures and we see the future in a lustful, wishful haze. The only thing that is truly comprehensible and what we are, potentially, able to grasp in completion, is the present. So what does this have to do with gratitude? EVERYTHING.
Past and future thinking, while fun, typically lead us to depression or anxiety. We miss the good old days, we long for the new and exciting. Whether that depression and anxiety shows up in a clinical, ‘diagnosable’ form, or perhaps it is just a small tinge in the heart, it never leaves us satisfied.
Gratitude leaves us satisfied… Gratitude is the ability to pause in the present and be thankful for what IS. What the past has caused and what the future will bring. Gratitude is one of the most grounding, realistic and purely joyful experiences (if you let it be) in life. Gratitude brings on forgiveness, peace, and joy, and as Cicero said:
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.
Ok, so gratitude can keep me from day dreaming of what might be and what maybe was… so? Do you want to be free? Free of the confines of the past and future? Free of resentment and restriction? Gratitude is your key. Try every day from today until the end of the week to list out one thing you are grateful for. If you get through this week, see if next week you can try two, then the next three. See how long you can build on this practice and see how it changes your life.
Your perspective will shift. Your breathing will shift. Your life will shift. Start to look at life, not as something that is happening to you but as something you are receiving and know that every person, place, step, promotion, pet, etc. will lead you to the next spot. Hey, who knows, this might even bring you our ultimate goal: Happiness.
Happy Thanksgiving! We sure are grateful for you!