I try to practice gratitude every day. For awhile, I kept a gratitude notebook, jotting down things in my daily life, as they crossed my path, that I was thankful for. It's easy to fall away from this practice, and find yourself sliding into the other side of sarcasm or complaining.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, found that your happiness increases with your ability to note the things in your life you can be grateful for. It's this constant attention, a noting of kindness, goodness, beauty, and joy in the little things that brings deep satisfaction.
I think being attentive to my garden and the little things I can note daily, helps me be better attune to this. Being a photographer helps train my eye to see and frame the beauty of what may be right in front of me. Meditation silences the busy-ness, and brings a grounding to open my senses to the world around me. Intense exercise does the exact same thing as meditation. Funny, isn't it?
I had a moment of beauty today. Having spent many nightmare trips to the grocery store in the days or hours leading up to Thanksgiving, I experienced a true Thanksgiving Miracle today. I did my Thanksgiving shopping at my local New Seasons market. Known for its atrociously small parking lot with small and difficult-to-maneuver parking spaces, I was prepared to see a not-so-pretty side of my fellow humans. It was a full lot, but I was easily able to wait for a woman loading her trunk to then back out, and take her parking spot. Not so bad, I said to myself, as I hustled into the busy store just two days before the big turkey day. Aisles were not crowded, staff were readily available and happy to answer questions. And when it came time to check out? No line. And a checker who was kind and fun to chat with. (We chatted about the tastiness of the No Pudge Brownies I was buying. Not for Thanksgiving!) But here's the creme de le creme. As I went to leave, I could see the deluge that was happening outside. Buckets of rain were pouring from the sky. Buckets. Drenching water flowing like a river from above. I'm not exaggerating. And at the door? A New Seasons staffer, in a raincoat slicker with a walkie talkie and a big giant umbrella, offering to escort shoppers to their car. My groceries and I made it to the car without getting drenched, and as I wished him a happy Thanksgiving, he took my cart to return to the store.
And that, my friends, is what I'm grateful for today.