The second of an eight-day exploration of everyday gratitude. Inspired by our new book, Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life as a Gift.
Welcome to our practice. Let’s begin…
We invite you to close your eyes and take one or two slow, deep breaths. Then open your eyes and read today’s quote by Emily Dickinson: “To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations.”
Let’s allow ourselves to wonder, to be “startled” by the fact of our living. Is not life, when we truly allow ourselves to begin to take in the magnitude of this extraordinary event, wonder-full? Just consider: we live on a tiny planet spinning through space. Gravity keeps us on our feet and in our beds at night. The oxygen we breathe is produced by billions of plants perfectly designed to transform energy from the sun (92 million miles away!), along with nutrients from the soil, into their beautiful, nourishing selves. There is so much at which to marvel. Animal life. Human animals. Our hands. Language. Feelings. Rain. The computer or mobile device you are reading this on… When we allow ourselves to be in wonder, which of our worries diminish in significance?
Share your responses to any of the above in the reflection area below, write in a journal at home (or online) or simply let the quote and question accompany you throughout the day.
Notice how this exploration impacts you…and those around you.
We can so often sleep-walk through our lives, forgetting to notice and be astonished, amazed, and surprised by the vastness and the detail of it all. Everyday Gratitude, and grateful living, invite us to surrender the many, habitual preoccupations of mind that want us to control life, and in their place to savor and celebrate the wonder and mystery which abound for our enrichment.
For further inspiration you might appreciate:
Wonder – a blog by Katie Steedly Curling
A Grateful Day – 3-minute video meditation by Br. David Steindl-Rast
The Cosmic Story – Brian Swimme and Br. David Steindl-Rast on “being in touch with the cosmic reality.”
The image above is excerpted from Everyday Gratitude © by A Network for Grateful Living; book design and lettering by Alethea Morrison; watercolors and cover illustration © Katie Eberts, with additional watercolors by Clikchic Designs; used with permission from Storey Publishing.
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“So you think this is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day. It is the one day that is given to you…today.” I would love for this to be the sentence I wake up to every morning. After reflecting on today’s practice I find myself looking at the oranges in the fruit bowl differently. They are no longer just oranges. Thank you for helping me see the extraordinary in the ordinary.
One reason I frequent this site is because I have over six decades of measuring up, judging, being fearful of not making the grade (whatever the grade might be was always elusive), people-pleasing, self-protecting, protecting others (from what, who knows). Total insanity, now that the blinders are coming off. But to reorient myself completely in this world (which is what I am doing) is challenging, and it takes time and much, much practice. I know there is wonder in the world. I also know I don’t have the ability to see it. But I trust, since God made it, it is full of wonder, and I look forward to the day when I can see it without so much effort.
I just read this post…I am new to this site. Thank you for your post. I realize it is two years old but it has touched me now . I am in a similar position, after many years, finally letting go of the same habits as you. I hope you have found your new orientation. Know that you have helped someone by sharing your words.
I have to admit that it is just starting to happen for me. The stuff I mentioned is pretty much resolved. Eyes to see the wonderful things around me and to be grateful is finally starting. There is hope for us.
Poverty and richness are one of those paradoxes that seem so contradictory if tried to be understood by thought. But true richness is poverty. Today’s practice takes me deep into the truth of what it means when we say: “less is more”. The more we have the more we feel poor, but the less we have the more we discover our infinite richness. For experience, this means our sensitivity of both the inner and outer world comes alive, when we allow our sensible nature to gain back its receptivity by eliminating all distractions. What a freeing joy it is to discover how little is needed!
Such rememberance means a forgetfullness for all worries, because in simplicity there is only clarity, and a soaking in life’s sweetness.
yesterday, my mood was “down” and for reasons I discovered recently, I had no voice, yes, my vocal cords were “out”.
This morning, the choir with which I sing, was to sing during Sunday Mass, because today we celebrate a special sacred celebration, a memorial day that has its roots in the Middle Ages, when my little village was saved from a plague epidemic. I was really worried. But I sang, I sang well, with my dear friends.
But here is the wonder: when I returned home, one of my sons, knowing and taking part of my concern, asked me if my voice was ok. Such love, such proximity to my problems, from a 20-year-old boy, my soul bowed to him, even though I did not tell him anything. Perhaps, I should have embraced him, despite the typical shyness and reluctance of the boys.
Forgive me for this long post, but it is what I thought after reading the question.
I loved your reflection, Anna, thank-you for sharing it! How heart-warming to hear about your 20 year old son and his concern and love for you!
This reminds me of being present–living in the now, this moment. When I am present and not “in the past” or “peering into the future” I do see the wonder of the world at the forefront.
After reading this practice, a sense of peace came over me and the “voice in the head” quieted down considerably. Thank-you for sharing this practice!
Love and blessings to all?
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