“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” ~Meister Eckhart
This is a good time to think about what you're thankful for.
I've been thinking about it this morning, knowing it's Thanksgiving week. Of course family and friends top the list. And my health. And my home. I'm sure these top your list as well.
This morning I pondered some very simple things I'm thankful for, things that make a small but profound difference in my daily life. Perhaps this will inspire you to lift your head from whatever you're doing to consider these small things for yourself.
Lately, I've become more mindful of the moments in my day when I feel content and happy.
Sometimes these moment arise spontaneously with no apparent trigger (something to be thankful for on it's own). Sometimes they arise during an interaction with someone I care about. And sometimes there is some “thing” — a physical object that stirs feelings of gratitude and joy.
In recent years, I've detached less and less from the desire for material things. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of them, a cornucopia of stuff. But the longing to accumulate has really diminished, and I'm slowly but surely getting rid of excess stuff.
However, there are certain material things in my life that stir feelings of gratitude and joy — and sometimes feelings of something deeper and more profound — like love, connection, happy memories, self-confidence, inner peace, and comfort.
When I wrote the list this morning and read it back to myself, these things seemed silly and devoid of any weighty meaning. But as I dug deeper into why I'm grateful for these things, they didn't seem silly at all. I guess what I'm really grateful for are the feelings these things provoke and the meaning I attached to them.
Here's my list of 10 simple things I am thankful for today:
1. A 30-year-old sweatshirt
When the weather gets cool, every morning I get out of bed and throw on a 30-year-old sweatshirt with a logo for Guess jeans on it. I'm not attached to Guess jeans and hardly notice the logo anymore. But the sweatshirt is old and soft and extremely cozy. It brings me comfort and warmth in the mornings. It's a connection to my past, something personal that's traveled with me through time. One of my daughters used to sleep with it when I was out-of-town, and that beautiful memory is attached to it.
2. Coffee bean grinder
My first cup of coffee in the morning is close to a spiritual experience! I love the process of brewing the coffee, smelling it, preparing the first cup, and taking that very first lovely sip. The beginning of this process is turning on the coffee bean grinder in the morning. Just the sound awakens and energizes me. And there's nothing like fresh ground coffee beans. My dear friend Holli gave me the grinder as a gift, and I feel connected to her when I use it.
3. The window at my desk
My home office desk sits in front of a big bay window. The window overlooks a small lake, as well as a tree about ten feet away from the window itself. I can see wildlife at all hours — squirrels building nests, a variety of birds, wild geese and ducks on the lake, a hawk that often lands on a branch of the tree, a blue heron that stands on the edge of the lake, and even the occasional deer. A couple of days ago, I took off the grids on the main picture window in the bay. The view (pictured in the main photo above) is even more stunning, and I fell in love with this window all over again, after living here for nearly 20 years.
4. My mother's soup ladle
The minute the there's the slightest nip in the air, I see it as the signal to begin making and consuming soup. Soup is a perfect meal for me. It's warm, comforting, and nutritious. Soup also reminds me of my mom, who died when I was in my 20's. I used to eat her vegetable soup for breakfast because I loved it so much. I have her soup ladle, a 1960's era stainless steel Revereware item which isn't very attractive or valuable. But it reminds me of her, standing in the kitchen making soup. So I love it.
Only recently have I really begun to appreciate candles. I'd light them for special occasions or when the power went out, but I didn't light them for every day pleasure. Now I do. I love to have a candle flickering on my desk while I work, and a scented candle in my kitchen and bedroom. I love smelling the variety of scented candles in a nice store that carries beautifully-packaged candles. There's something about a lit candle that affords inner peace for me. It reminds me to stay centered.
6. My rebounder
I've been running outside regularly since last April. But as it's gotten colder outside, I've felt an inner resistance to running. I don't want to get bundled up and go outside, but I don't want to loose all of the momentum and stamina I'd built over the last 7 months. Then I spied my trusty rebounder trampoline
in the corner of my bedroom, covered up with pillows and clean laundry. I love rebounding, and I particularly love all of the health benefits of rebounding. I'm so grateful I have this exercise option when it's cold outside.
7. The rosemary bushes at my front door
Every year around Thanksgiving, I buy two rosemary bushes to put in the planters on either side of my front door. I love the smell of rosemary when I enter the door, and I love being able to grab some fresh rosemary to use for cooking during the holidays. Traditionally, rosemary is thought to improve memory, and it has been used to symbolize remembrance. This is a beautiful metaphor, particularly at the holidays as it reminds me of loved ones and special memories.
8. My Kindle
I read on my Kindle every single night before I go to sleep. I love reading, and I so enjoy the ability to download a book whenever I wish. As much as I revere a good ole hardcover book, or even a paperback, it's so easy and convenient to hold my thin, lightweight Kindle, especially when reading in bed. I feel grateful for this technology that has allowed me to read more books and to read them more comfortably.
9. My daughter's messy room
I must admit, I don't always feel thankful for this. And if you saw it, you'd understand. But I've been trying to change my attitude about my daughter's messy room. She's a junior in high school, and in short order she'll be out of the house and off at college. Yes, her room will be clean, but she'll be gone. When I see her room now, I try to remind myself of this reality and that her “creative clutter” is part of who she is right now. And I'm grateful for her.
10. The space heater under my desk
The big picture window in front of my desk is lovely. But man does it let in a lot of cold, cold air. Which wafts in right at my feet. For a while, I'd wrap up my feet and legs in a blanket. But then when I had to get up to eat or go to the restroom, I had to de-shroud myself and then wrap up again when I returned to my desk. So I bought a small electric space heater to put on the floor near my feet. It's running right now, blowing lovely warm air up my pant legs. Practical yes. But I am thankful for it.
What are some small things you are thankful for? Think through your day, and consider what brings you moments of joy, happy memories, and good feelings. Please share them in the comments below.
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