I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately, not just because of Thanksgiving on the horizon, but actually because of a loss in our family. Our little dog passed away quite unexpectedly and it was heartbreaking for our family to sit with her in those last hours.
This morning in the shower I was reminiscing of all the wonderful moments we had with her, how she always knew when someone needed a smile or a cuddle. Dogs are natural empaths and we have a lot to learn from them! My heart was heavy, yet full of gratitude and love at the same time.
My thoughts turned to how grateful I was that I knew her, and how often we forget to sit in that feeling of gratitude, how we have made “gratitude practice” into something we “need to do” rather than fully experience it.
We make gratitude lists. We say what we are grateful for at the end of the day, but we don’t give it our full attention. We don’t bask in the warmth of the feeling of appreciating what we are grateful for.
When we don’t fully experience the feeling of gratitude–but rather make it a note and then move on to our busy day–we miss the opportunity to appreciate. We lessen the value and the impact of it on our hearts and minds.
Standing in the shower, I looked up through the steam and saw a bird flit past the skylight, casting a flicker of a shadow for a moment and it just delighted me. The blue sky, the cloud of steam, the fleeting glimpse of wings, it was like a moment in the clouds. (I know, writing this it feels a bit hokey, but stay with me.)
I gave myself a moment to savor how that made me feel. I appreciated how it all came together. Even in a moment of grief, that glimpse of beauty lifted me up. Appreciation is a pure form of gratitude.
With all that happens in our lives and around us, there is always something to be grateful for. We can learn to live in gratitude.
I recorded a short guided gratitude meditation on living in gratitude here. Have a listen!