Monthly Mantra: November 2021
I LIVE WITH APPRECIATION. I LOOK FOR REASONS TO FEEL GOOD. I TAKE PLEASURE IN SIMPLE INDULGENCES.
What we look for, we find. What we direct our attention at expands. If we want to live in a contented state, we must look for reasons to feel good.
What we choose to notice increases in importance, leading us to notice more things in that same vein. If we’re on a negative track, we can no doubt find an endless number of things to feel badly about. The shit weather outside. The toys your kids didn’t put away. The clothes you don’t own. The way your fingernails don’t grow in nicely. And on and on. Until all that seems to surround you is negativity.
Similarly, we can choose to identify an endless amount of things around us that are positive. Our warm homes. The dishes your husband did. The food you have, and that you have fingernails. Knowing this, why aren’t we all constantly babbling forth with our appreciation for everything?
Some people shy away from focusing on gratitude because the acknowledgement of all their undeniable fortune renders them feeling guilty. How can I even list the things I’m grateful for? The list has a million things on it, and meanwhile there’s a man living on the street outside my door. I should just shut up.
The gateway to gratitude doesn’t need to be the widest one (which necessarily includes such blessings as a roof over our heads and free will and so on). When we start by focusing on the smallest concentric circle of pleasure around us, we give ourselves permission to feel truly appreciative.
Somehow the genuine appreciation for the freshly roasted coffee beans in your morning cup—and the people who grew them—doesn’t carry that same twinge of guilt that expressing gratitude for having a mouth to drink with does.
The more we’re clued into the infinite and tiny sources of delight that surround us, the more we begin to feel every instance of our lives amplified by fortune. Not in a we-should-be-apologizing way, but in an aware state.
Living with appreciation for the unending chain of delights that is your daily life might be the best kind of meditation.
Gratitude rights our minds. Living with the intention to notice sources of small pleasure puts us in a state of mindfulness. From that state, we see that we, alone, are in charge of our lives, that all we’ve brought into our worlds has been by our design, and that the whole world joins with us to support our happiness.
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