Two days ago, I turned 25. About two weeks ago, I resolved that with the new year I would practice gratitude. One week later, I happened to attend a seminar at work where the speaker discussed optimism and how it fosters vitality and hope. She suggested the use of a “gratitude journal” where everyday, you are to write a couple of current happenings for which you are grateful for. Evidently, habitually identifying gratitude worthy incidences eventually rewires the brain to automatically do it itself! So, every night, I began jotting down 2-3 bullet points of moments for which I was grateful for that day. So far, I was writing down moments that made me happy. While I understood how I could train my brain to practice gratitude, the concept of gratitude itself still escaped me until this evening while watching a movie:
“…I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me. But it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and its too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude. “
-Kevin Spacey, American Beauty
So, gratitude is a choice. Gratitude is a lens that enables us to find joy in anything and everything. Gratitude is knowing that all that we live and feel is fleeting. Gratitude is finding the joy, accepting that it is transient, allowing ourselves to live and love it, and being thankful that we were able to experience it once it is has passed.
What does gratitude mean to you?