Lately it seems like the concept of "gratitude" hs been popping up more often in my conversations. A friend emailed me recently to say that gratitude has become her theme for the year. This article from the Huffington Post. Another friend saying that when she practices reiki she just imagines gratitude in her body. It got me thinking last week that each day I should find something to be grateful for - and then actually acknowledge that gratefulness rather than just letting the moment pass by.
So I did. Each day I found something to be grateful for, and acknowledged it to myself or towards another person. And by the third day, I realized how easy it was to not just find one thing to be grateful for, but to find tons of small moments in my day that brought me joy. None of them are big and perhaps others wouldn't find them to be gratitude-worthy. Two beautiful elderly Indian women in saris taking a morning walk, as seen out the window of my bajai on the way to work. Hearing 20 Kinder students enthusiastically fighting over each others' voices to share why they love school so much. Having freshly made almond milk in my fridge when I got home from work.
But today I started to realize that this was turning into an amazing habit. In everything that seemed to cross my mind today I could find something to be grateful for - and rather than just letting the thought go, I silently expressed my thanks for it. For about 1.5 hours (during a really delightful reflexology session) I found myself giving gratitude constantly and without pause. Even the most bizarre thoughts. The song Nadia's Theme (from the Young and the Restless) came on in the background, and it made me think of my sister who used to play it on the piano when we were younger. In an instant I gave her silent gratitude for being such a great sister, and also to the universe for providing me with the memory. These expressions of gratitude don't take more than a few seconds, but the effect they have on me lasts so much longer. Tallied up together, I can already see how they are creating a shift towards even more happiness and awareness for me.
So that brings us to the kids. In my yoga classes I often ask kids to put their hands on their hearts and think of someone or something to be grateful for. But I seem to only do that with my yoga kids. Why not ask the speech-language kids that I'm working with one-on-one or in whole classes? Why not ask every kid I work with each day to end our time together with 15 seconds of gratitude? I feel like this is an easy and attainable goal to begin implementing this week. If you're a teacher or a parent, you have a prime opportunity to make this a daily habit with you and your kids. Instilling the idea of gratefulness is one of the best gifts you can give!
I recognize that this is NOT ground-breaking information. We have been told in countless ways over the years to express gratitude through lists and journals and boards and etc. etc. But still - we don't always do it. Sometimes it takes being reminded again and again before an idea clicks and you act on it. I know that's what happened for me. And perhaps it will happen for someone else with yet again, one more reminder to be grateful for the small moments that bring you joy each day.