September 21 is Gratitude Day (it’s also the International Day of Peace). Inside our I Am A Triangle community, we’re talking about peace and gratitude. Over the summer, I’ve taken on a gratitude challenge with one of my friends. We are both using the Rituals For Living DreamBook system to help organize our days, and make sure our life goals are actually being accomplished … one week at a time.
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens
Some of the past entries for me have been: new connections, sleep, music by The XX, piano lessons, my brain’s capacity, new suitcases, local wine shops, Jeep bikini tops, a roof over our heads, changing habits, hot coffee and the space to drink it all *while* it’s hot, Haplo Groups, Todd being home this summer, Farnoosh, truth-tellers, colored highlighters, alarm clocks, Indian food, curly hair, Brene Brown, golf, having guts, zebra pants, distractions, my ability to negotiate, business boss colleagues, do-overs ….
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. John F. Kennedy
The key to capturing gratitude is that you don’t have to search your brain for the big ticket items. It’s the small things, the little items, the unglamorous and the mundane. One thing I have learned is that the full-circle action that needs to come with gratitude is to do something about that which you are grateful for.
Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” Henri Frederic Amiel
Most of what we are taught or encouraged to do is to be grateful / express gratitude by doing the act of writing down that which we are grateful for. Gratitude journals are all the rage, and it feels simple enough to fill in the blanks: I am grateful for ________. But as the quote above suggests, the next step we must take is to look at the act of acknowledging our gratitude as thankfulness. Gratitude then is the completion of the acknowledgement.
When I write down that I am grateful for a local business I’ve discovered, I seek out their online presence and leave them a glowing review. My gratitude for individuals whom I admire is then expressed by sending them an email telling them thank you, or sharing out some of their content to my social network. For the moments of gratitude with my family, I give a tighter squeeze, or make sure to tuck in a favorite snack in their lunch box. I verbally say “thank you” for the help they give around the house, and make time to listen.
Here are some more nuggets I love:
Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie
I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I’m going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice. Mike Ericksen
Five ways to practice gratitude:
(this week for Gratitude Day, or at any time!)
- Grab a piece of paper and a writing utensil, or open the Notes feature on your phone. Sit still and in silence for one minute. Close your eyes and say to yourself: “I am thankful for …” and see what things spring to your mind.
- Open your eyes and write down or capture all of the things you can recall that you were thankful for. Don’t worry if it’s only a few items, or if you have many.
- As you look at each of those things or experiences or individuals you have named, what about each of those was special and memorable. Why are you thankful for those things you have listed?
- Identify one way for each of the things listed (cap this if you found you had many things to be thankful for) that you can extend the act of gratitude to acknowledge the thankfulness but turn it into gratitude. Is there someone you can send a message to to let them know you are grateful for them? Is there an experience recently had that warrants an online review? Is there someone who is a part of your week who might appreciate a note card in the mail, or a bouquet of flowers in appreciation? If you found you are thankful for a static item (say your garden, or your vehicle, or an item in your home), spend some time weeding your garden, cleaning out or washing your vehicle, etc.
- Repeat as often as needed to begin a new habit of gratitude!
What are you grateful for? Share with us in the comments below!
Author: Naomi Hattaway
Naomi Hattaway is the founder of I Am A Triangle, an online community of members from around the globe who have one thing in common – they’ve lived around the world, away from their passport countries. Offering in-person gatherings in over 80 cities around the globe, I Am A Triangle also exists to be a one-stop-shop for resources whether you are just pondering a move abroad, currently are living the adventure, or are repatriating back “home.” She also owns 8th & Home Real Estate and Relocation, a referral network matching families on the move with real estate professionals who chase communities and not commissions. After living in several locations in the United States, her family (three kids, now ages 21, 13 and 10) moved overseas to Delhi, India where she learned to thrive in the midst of chaos.
Following a one-year stint in Singapore, they are now back in the United States, and she has traipsed her way from Florida to Virginia and is now – for the time being – in Ohio. Naomi is passionate about community building and empowering others to thrive, not just survive, in the places they call home.