This week I have been thinking about gratitude in relation to my mindfulness practice, trying to incorporate attention and being aware of what is around me with gratitude and thankfulness.
It is easy to remember to be grateful for people for example, when we are prompted. Think of fathers day, mothers day, valentines and wedding anniversaries. These days are a chance to remember and reflect on how important and influential the special people in our lives are. But having these prompted dates also shines light on the fact that we easily forget to be thankful for the special people in our lives on a day to day basis. In fact it is often easier to become annoyed by, frustrated with and sometimes even nonchalant towards the people we are closest to and have the biggest impact on our lives.
Think, for example, of your husband/wife/partner. They may do so many good things for you everyday- even little things such as make you a brew, listen to you moan about work, cook your tea, hang out the washing, hold your hand….. but all these good things are taken for granted and become background noise, they are normalised and we no longer become aware of them, so we only notice the new annoying things they do such as ruin the tea or forget to run an errand or talk over your favourite tv programme.
So by being mindful and practicing mindfulness we can be more aware of things that happen each moment, less on auto pilot and therefore become more able to be grateful for the things and people we love the most.
Gratitude is an expression of our appreciation for life. Sometimes we are so focused on life’s challenges- for example your kids making too much noise or your husband forgetting to renew the car tax- that we lose sight of being grateful for simply having a husband and family in the first place.
We are quick to complain, moan and judge but often don’t take the time to be thankful, to appreciate the little things and to truly recognise those around us.
Being grateful is choosing to not take things for granted and as a result helps us see life through a fresh lens. Being mindful is choosing to live in and appreciate the present moment and both of these practices go hand in hand.
When we are mindful we are aware that everything is constantly changing from moment to moment. Our moods, thoughts and feelings are constantly on the move. When we are not being mindful we can get stuck on moments that happened in the past. How many of us have remained angry and resentful of our partners for something they did hours, days or even weeks ago? Because we are stuck in our heads re-living this one moment in the past we fail to see all the good, all that we should be grateful for NOW.
So this up coming week, why not try with me to be more aware of the little ways your nearest and dearest positively improve your day to day life? And when they do something you find frustrating or annoying or dull try to deal with it in a non-combative way and let the moment pass.
Lets see if being mindful makes us more grateful for the people we love the most but also take advantage of the most.