NOVEMBER – HOLIDAY THEMED
ANTHOLOGIES/STORIES


11-18 Magdalena Scott – Serendipity Surprises

Monday, November 17, 2014

Four Ways I Find Gratitude Now

by
Christy Carlyle

I'm a planner, a list maker. I have multiple topical and categorized To Do lists, not just one. And I like to think long-term. My husband and I often talk about moving to Britain "someday," but I recently told him we should pinpoint a timeline and start planning, even if it's ten years from now. For some reason, he laughed at my suggestion.

Because I am always looking to the future, to goals and aspirations I want to achieve, I have to be conscientious, purposeful, about living in the moment and being grateful for right where I am and exactly what I have now. This moment is precious and that includes this day, this week, and this year that has seemingly flown by at lightning speed.

I am as determined to appreciate what I have now as I am to accomplish my goals in the future, but I have to admit to sometimes becoming so busy that I forget to be grateful. These are four methods I use to remind myself to embrace the moment and be grateful for the here and now.

1. Daily Gratitude Journaling - "Count your blessings." This is a phrase my grandmother used to say to me. I knew what it meant, but I didn't understand the importance of it until I grew up. I don't literally count blessings, but I do journal most days and I start or end each journal entry by naming and expressing gratitude for someone, some experience, some part of my life—right here, right now.

2. Take a Walk - When even my multiple To Do lists fail to make me feel like I can manage my life, or circumstances begin to feel overwhelming, I take a walk outdoors. Being under the open sky and in nature helps me readjust my perspective. I'm part of a much greater whole and the beauty of nature is hard to ignore.

3. Reminisce - Time flies! Where did the time go? Is it that day already? I find myself saying words like these much more often than I'd like. And it's really just another way to say I'm stressed or feel behind, that time isn't on my side but somehow seems to work against me. At such moments, it really helps me to look back. If I think the week has flown by, I'm usually not acknowledging everything I have already accomplished in three or four days. Ironically, looking back makes me feel better about where I am in the current moment.

4. Simple Pleasures - As busy I love to be, I am a big believer in
taking time to "smell the roses." And I mean that literally! My husband can attest to my inclination to stop and smell flowers I spot in the grocery store or when we're out and about. But it's not just about how good roses and hyacinths smell. Spending time looking at art, having a chat and glass of wine with a friend, or just cuddling up to watch a movie with my husband—indulgence in sweet, simple pleasures never fails to inspire a surge of gratitude and make me savor the here and now.

Do you have techniques that you use to ground you when life feels overwhelming? Are you so busy you have to remind yourself to "stop and smell the roses" like I do?

8 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

My mom and I sometimes watched the same t.v. shows and one year it was The Mod Squad. In one episode there was a poem that was repeated several times.

If of thy mortal goods two loaves alone to you are left, sell one and with the dole buy hyacinths to feed your soul.

I was much struck by that and so was she. For Christmas she gave me a large flat package. Inside was a framed embroidery of that saying. My dad told me she'd spent hours and hours on it (she did the design as well as the needlework). I have it in my bedroom and it is something I see every morning and every night.

It reminds me to keep balance in my life because I lean towards being a workaholic. I also start my day writing out what I'm grateful and thankful for and I end my day with my 'gratitude rock' in hand recounting what I'm most grateful for in the day just past.

Since I started these practices, I have noticed that I 'weather life's storms' easier and for that I am most grateful.

Christy Carlyle said...

Oh, that's a beautiful sentiment and so worth remembering, Judith. I've noted it somewhere I can refer to it often. Thank you!

Maggie Lynch said...

As I read your post, I was nodding my head constantly. I think you've been inside my head and wrote it down! :)

First, I do believe that writing a goal with a timeline is important. I've done that many times, and though I don't always make the date I set. I do always make the goal. I think it helps you to be present in day-to-day living with a specific path.

Second, I love your idea about journaling gratitude. What a centering activity that must be.

For myself, my daily goal around gratitude is to do three things each day. 1) Express gratitude that I am still alive. 2) Be thankful for those alive and dead who have been a part of my life and made me who I am today. 3) Look beyond my office each day to the glory of nature. Even on cold, windy, snowy days it is still amazing and glorious.

One other thing that is helping to keep me centered is the practice of doing something different than my work each day. I am a full time writer, but it can take over to the point of being a chore. I break that up with music each day--singing, listening, composing. It has become a different creative pursuit that is interactive in a different way than writing. An interesting journey for me.

Sarah Raplee said...

What lovely practices you all have shared!

The only thing I can think to add is to spend time with animals or observing animals. They live in the here-and-now. They take pleasure in simple things. They remind me to do the same.

And yes, I am crazy-busy, too!

Tammy Palmer said...

This is one of those posts that everyone can relate to. I think I'm naturally a glass is half empty kind of person, and I have to remind myself on a daily basis of how lucky I truly am. Great husband, amazing kids and time to do what I love. (Though with writing there's never really enough time!) Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings Christy. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Pippa Jay said...

Actually, I go for a walk. It takes me away from all the things swamping me and lets me work over things in my mind. I meant to do a thing this year that I saw on Facebook - to write down something good when it happens and put it in a jar, then pull them all out and read them when I have a bad day, to remind me of the good ones.

Diana McCollum said...

Wow! I loved this post. All you ladies have such wonderful practices and thank you for sharing. I'd slipped out of the practice of writing down the things I'm grateful for. Starting to do that again today. I agree with Sarah about watching animals and Maggie about what nature can give our souls. I have no pets, but my husband feeds the birds and quail. We so enjoy watching them. My desk sits by a window and I am watching the sun reflecting off the snow leaving glistening sparkles in place. Happy Holidays!

Christy Carlyle said...

Thank you, Maggie, Sarah, Tammy, Pippa, and Diana, for sharing your methods for holding onto gratitude.

Great point about animals, Sarah! My cats keep me grounded. That's for sure.

Pippa, I love the idea of putting good experiences in a jar and reading them later! What a sweet remembrance that would be.

And it sounds like we're a group of nature lovers, and that appreciating the beauty around us really is a key to happiness and gratitude.

Thanks for the comments, everyone! :)