A friend of ours expressed her concern about her birthday as it approached in November. She’s turned 60 and was feeling depressed. She shared that her eyesight is failing. Her bladder is shot. Her ankles have disappeared. She jokingly said she probably should start digging her own hole in the ground.
As we continued to talk, she decided she was going to do a gratitude practice and post it on social media, leading up to her 60th birthday at the end of November. Each day, she planned to post with photos and description, something that she was grateful for. She hoped it would bring her some joy.
We’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the sharing of her gratitude and the shift in her attitude toward her birthday. It really has been amazing to watch!
She started for the first few days remembering and being grateful for those who gave her life and loved her (both her birth parents and adoptive parents) and her beloved childhood pet. Then she moved on to the cousins and friends of the family that have touched her life. Such love blossomed in her heart as she expressed her gratitude for those who had loved and nurtured her in her childhood.
This past weekend, she invited several close friends and her sister to join her in a weekend celebration to a location she’d never been to but always wanted to go. What fun they had together, laughing and playing while having adventures in new places!
And her practice continued until she arrived at the day of her birth and celebrated her 60th birthday.
What we’ve noticed since she’s started is there no longer is a focus on “getting old” and the body parts that are aging. She focused instead on what life she still has, the many gifts that she’s been given, and the love she feels for those in her life. She discovered the joy and fun that she still has access to, even as she’s aging. What a lesson for all of us!
We invite you to join us and take a moment each day for the first days of January to be grateful for one thing in your life each day. We can be inspired by remembering one of our favorite people on the topic of gratefulness, Brother David Steindl-Rast.
“You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day.
It’s the one day that is given to you.
It’s a gift.
It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response is gratefulness.
If you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open…."
Take a moment to picture in your mind’s eye one thing that you are grateful for today. Send your love, warmth, and appreciation to this.
Being grateful opens the door to a storehouse of positivity and hope, shifting your outlook on life. We experience joy and meaning in our lives.
We encourage you to continue this gratefulness practice for the month of January and let us know how it affects you. We’d love to hear!