I am grateful for OCTOBER. To prove it, a photo I took yesterday near Breckenridge

If you are a regular reader of my Gratitude Sunday posts, you might suffer from the illusion that my life is always perfect and happy, because I reflect on only the good things every week.  Obviously, it’s not and I’m not – always.  Yet, all spiritual teachings stress that practicing gratitude is even more important when things aren’t going exactly as we would wish.  Expressing gratitude in tough times is more challenging, but it can also transform a negative outlook or feelings into positive ones.  We focus on what we do have, rather than what we don’t.

So this is what I challenged myself to do this week – find a way to be grateful for things which, at first blush, wouldn’t seem all that great.

Quotes on Gratitude

“There’s always two ways to look at something. Many times we think of something as negative — it’s stressful, harmful, sad, unfortunate, difficult. But that same thing can be looked at in a more positive way. Giving thanks for those things is a great way to remind yourself that there is good in just about everything. Problems can be seen as opportunities to grow, to be creative.” — Leo Babauta

“A musician practices scales for many lonely hours so that when it comes time to perform, the music will flow naturally from the fingers. Likewise, we can make a practice of our gratitude that will sustain us in both the wonderful and difficult times of our lives.” — Christine Robinson and Alicia Hawkins

“… (D)ifficult times are when it is most important to take stock of what we’re grateful for. There’s something about making a conscious decision to take time in your day to savor the things for which you are thankful that helps you navigate stress.” — Armstrong Williams

Gratitude List for the week ending October 2

  1. I am grateful when the children talk back to me, because it means they are practicing standing up for themselves and their feelings.
  2. I am grateful for recurring 9/11 nightmares, because each time I wake up it is with the sweet reminder that I am safe and that I live in a free country.
  3. I am grateful for the great pain of loss because it means I also experienced great love.
  4. I am grateful that my son got sick, because it reminds me that most of the time he is healthy.
  5. I am grateful that my children’s books haven’t been published yet, because it is forcing me to push my creative limits and become a better writer.
  6. I am grateful for the complexity of the U.S. tax laws for small businesses, because learning about them is keeping my brain sharp.
  7. I am grateful for arguments, because it gives me a chance to understand the other person better.
  8. I am grateful for the frequency with which I have to clean the kitchen and load and unload the dishwasher, because it means we have plenty of food to eat.
  9. I am grateful that I didn’t exercise as much this week because I got lots of rest instead.
  10. I am grateful for frustration because it motivates me to be more productive.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Gratitude Sunday · Tags: , ,

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14 Comments

  1. Thanks for the reminder to look for the good in everything. It will help me to focus on the positive, which can only make me happier!

  2. Jennifer L. Oliver

    Wow, what a wonderful perspective! I agree that when you turn the negative into a positive, it does make things seem a little less harsh. Practice the positive thoughts and it will eventually turn into a habit to always see the good instead of focusing on the bad. I think many people get stuck in the rut of doing this and don’t know how to get away from it. This post is actually a really good starting point. I think I’ll make my own list today!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Jennifer, thanks for your comment! I guess that’s why I call this gratitude a “practice,” because it really does take doing it over and over before it becomes a natural way of thinking.

  3. This list is very glass-half-full, Julie! What a good reminder to us all to look at the positive in situations which might not seem so at first.

  4. Great list, Julie.

    I tend to focus on the positives and ignore the negatives. Perhaps I should latch onto the negatives long enough to see the positives within.

  5. I love the challenge you gave yourself this week. So often its tough to see through the gray clouds and remember that all things happen for a reason. This is optimism at is finest!

    Let’s see if I can do the same:

    1) I am grateful for migraines because they remind me to be very appreciative of days when my head doesn’t hurt.

    2) I am grateful for the summer heat that refuses to leave because when it does I’ll enjoy the chill of fall that much more.

    🙂

    • Oh, my daughter has migraines and I know how painful they are. I hope you are not plagued by them too often.

      We’ve finally gotten some chill of fall here, and it is well worth the wait.

  6. Such wisdom, Julie. It’s easy to look at the good when you want to ignore the bad but much harder to find good in the bad. (If you know what I mean lol)

    Do you remember telling me to do a book of poems, well I’m finally going to do it with my zoo poems. It’s so easy to write a few every day and much easier than middle grade lol.

  7. I have a friend who puts it this way. He does not regard the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ as something formulaic to be repeated at services and ceremonies, rejects the idea that Jesus was teaching his disciples WHAT to pray, and embraces the idea that he was teaching them HOW to pray. Regarding prayer as something which comes spontaneously in response to the immanence of God, he feels the Lords Prayer to be a morning thing, a petition for the coming day, in particular (and most importantly to him) “Give us this day our daily bread”. He says that it is important to remember whom it is we are asking for this, and that it is therefore much more than a simple request for breakfast, lunch, and supper; it is a request for the spiritual food that Christ himself breaks, blesses and gives to us with his own hands. Therefore at the end of the day we ought to feel the urge to give thanks, even if it may feel to us that we have not been fed at all but have been kept in a spiritual fast. Even if that is how we feel (he says) we WILL have been fed according to the Lord’s measure, not to ours. Our thanks shows trust.

    It’s an interesting view.

    M
    __________
    Marie Marshall
    writer/poet/editor/blogger
    Scotland
    heep://mairibheag.com
    http://kvennarad.wordpress.com

  8. I love this perspective, Julie. I’m going to work on doing this myself.

    This post has me thinking of a poem by Rumi called The Guest House (translation by Coleman Barks):

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    (This may be too long for a comment. If so, the poem can be found at http://www.panhala.net/Archive/The_Guest_House.html.)

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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