"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Music on the Run

Today I am grateful for a good run in the cool morning air and I am grateful for the music of the 1970's.
When I did my 8-9 miles this morning, I was listening to Kasey Kasem's Billboard Top 40 from 1976. One of our local stations plays back a Top 40 from the '70's every Saturday morning.  I don't have an iPod yet.  I have a radio I strap around my arm and it gets a few of the local stations.  I love the randomness of the radio...sure I could listen to favorite song after favorite song on an iPod, but I like the excitement of chance. When a favorite comes on the radio while I am out running, it's like a little extra adrenaline rush. My step gets lighter and quicker.  At least for a time.  This morning I was treated to everything from John Denver, Carole King, ABBA, and Queen to Willie and Waylon. 

If you stick around, you will hear a lot about running.  I am a runner.  A crazy runner who loves the miles and I especially like the miles when it is just me, the radio, the fresh air, and stride after stride.  I am so blessed to be able to run. I am also blessed that my husband and I share this hobby. Sure, I like the solitary miles, but the miles my husband and I have logged together have been good for our marriage.

Running is one step at a time.  Gratitude and building a better perception is also one step at a time.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Parental Wisdom

Today I am grateful for a day off and for kindred spirits like my friend Jill.  I am also grateful for some words of wisdom I heard from my mom growing up.  She was fond of telling her brood of children "If you can't say something good, don't say anything at all."  She would say it when we were being mean to one another, or if she caught us complaining about a teacher or someone else.  It really is sound advice.
Fewer apologies needed, less guilt to unload, if I stick to that simple mantra.

So thanks Mom!  But I have also realized more recently that this mantra of "If you can't say something good, don't say anything at all," applies to me and how I talk to myself.  Here is where gratitude comes in.  If I am focused on gratitude, on what is going well, I feel so much better.  If I focus on what isn't going well, the couple of things that have caused me to get my undies in a bundle, then I tend to start feeling sorry for myself and my self-talk isn't very nice.  Even if I go down the road of self-pity, if I can get back to gratitude, the trip is short and I get back on the right route.

Another good reason to stick with an attitude of gratitude. :-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Free Stuff

Today I am grateful for the discarded Nordic Track I found curbside several years ago.  It is probably circa 1980's, but it is in working order. I use it to cross-train. I am also grateful for the exercise bike I  found curbside a couple years ago, and my Wheaties jumprope. The bike is likely as old as I am or close. The jumprope was obtained by mailing in Wheaties box tops in the 1970's. I like my free gym, even though it lacks the bells, whistles, and smooth ride of the updated versions. These items help me get my heart going and the sweat flowing and I like that they were FREE. Endorphins are free too!

Gratitude is free. Not free in the true economic sense, because it will require time and effort.  But free in that it need not cost more money than what a journal cost. (Or you could put your journal online and save that money too.) But it is the best investment I make on a daily basis.  The dividends are substantial.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

As easy as 1, 2

Good morning,
Today I am grateful for the yoga breathing and poses my friend Jenny taught me.  They help me get centered and open in the morning.  (More on Jenny later.)  I am also grateful for our dog Oliver.  I enjoy our early morning walks as much as he does. (More on Oliver later too.)

It's that easy to start and keep a gratitude journal.  I have a cloth-covered journal full of blank pages that becomes my gratitude journal.  Often, they are gifts given to me by people in my life who know I like to write.  I simply put today's date and then list at least two things (people, places, happenings, etc.) that I am grateful for.  Anything goes.  There's no right or wrong answer.  It's MY journal.  But that simple action of going beyond thinking about what I am grateful for and putting it in writing gives it more power.  And that gives me a better perspective with which to start my day.

Try it.  What have you got to lose?  What have you got to gain?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welcome To Habitual Gratitude

"If your to-do list is longer than your gratitude list, consider a re-write."  I wrote this line late in 2010. I implore you to start a gratitude list, and if you have to write it on your to-do list until it becomes habit, that's fine. You will begin to feel better about your life in a matter of days.

I have been practicing and writing about gratitude for well over 15 years.  It is the single most important change I have made in my life-going from self-centered thinking that fed my self-pity to developing an attitude of gratitude. It has literally given me a new pair of glasses to view the world and my life with.  In this blog I plan to share thoughts, feelings, and actions surrounding gratitude.  This isn't fluff...it's real life success! Call it gratitude with an attitude. My sister reminded me earlier today that habitual gratitude is needed.