Last Friday I found my self dragging our huge trash and recycle bins down the driveway to the curb for pick up. As I struggled with my big coat and boots on the ice, I have to admit I felt a little stress and frustration starting to take hold. A little voice in my head said, "You are making a choice right now, you don’t have to make this chore stressful. What can you find in this mundane task to be thankful for?" As I thought on my way back to the house, I realized that I am very thankful to have a driveway of my own attached to a home I love. I am thankful we have a system for the removal of waste from our homes in this country. I am thankful that I can recycle in my town, and I’m thankful that I have the means to pay for the trash and recycle services.
This week, as you go through your daily routine, notice when you feel frustrated by an ordinary task and find something in it to be grateful for; Maybe it’s doing the dishes, which means you had food to eat, or endless driving to and from kids activities which means your kids are active and healthy enough to participate, or cleaning the bathroom which means you have indoor plumbing and a place to get ready for your day.
Gratitude is called a practice for a reason. Cultivating a practice takes time and dedication. Start each day by writing in a journal or just sitting quietly and making a mental list of the things you are grateful for. Begin with the things that are closest to you, such as your family, your friends, your job, your health, and your home.
Begin noticing and expressing gratitude for small things that you might not even think of as privileges, such as your abilities to walk, hear, see, or even the ability to drag the trash bin to the end of the driveway. Remember that there are people who would sacrifice quite a lot to gain that which you might take for granted. Life is seldom as perfect as we wish it to be. Gratitude means finding and then focusing on the good in each day.