Sunday, July 26, 2020

Finding Gratitude In These Times

These days, it isn’t always easy to find gratitude, especially when facing our own individual challenges or, as is the case now, seeing and experiencing the anxieties and fears that come with a global pandemic and social unrest.
In these times, it’s more important than ever to find way to stay grounded and focused on what fills us with gratitude so that we may find balance in our lives.
This can be a daunting ask. When I am filled with frustration, anger and uncertainty, it’s difficult to feel grateful for what’s happening in my life. Especially for those activities where I spend much of my time, like my sometimes high-stress job.
I’ve found a key, though, that makes all the difference. Start small.
Instead of trying to feel grateful for a life that is dependent on 10- to 12-hour days spent in frustrating situations doing work that does not always feel aligned with what brings me joy, I focus on tea.
You see, since I’ve been sheltering in place, working from home, I try to have a cup of tea every morning. It’s green tea. I pour it in a cup that my daughter made when she was three. The cup comes with a saucer. I hold that cup and I am grateful. Grateful for her. Grateful for my wife who took her to the ceramics class and likely held the mug so my daughter could get her little painted fingers all over the cup. Grateful to be able to have a moment to think of them and enjoy the tea before starting my day.
The nice thing about starting small is it’s easy to find other small things that bring me joy: my dog stealing my shoe because she wants to play; standing in the middle of nature and accidentally capturing a beautiful image of trees above; spending time with family on a recent vacation that included visiting my youngest daughter’s college she’ll be attending in the fall. And yes, it’s the same daughter who designed my cup.
When you combine all these things, it is so clear how lucky I am and why I have so much to be grateful for no matter what may be happening in a given day or even in these times.
Sure, the fears, anxiety and frustrations still exist, but I have a touch stone of gratitude that is always there.
So what small things in your life are you grateful for so you can find balance?