Dan Pink, in the book “A Whole New Mind“, suggests having a “Gratitude List” on your birthday, with x things you are grateful for, if you turn x years old. The principle being that once you grow older, you learn to appreciate the things around you more, and you get more to thank for.
I guess a lot of my mindset changed since I started coaching, and this blog. Even if I haven’t coached formally in a while, I’m still keeping the mindset and the self-awareness. Gratitude is one of the key components.
I’m pretty sure that appreciating everything I have, has made me happier, in the past 2 years.
I’ve always believed that
a healthy background +
extra sugar on top
meaning that you should have the bare necessities in your life, and some extra frosting (sun in the sky, a kiss from a dear one, someone smiling…you get the idea)
So here are the things I’m grateful for, at the beginning of a new year.
11 things for 2011:
1. Having good health, even with the minor inconveniences.
2. Having someone who really loves me, feeling comforted.
3. The new house (oh, thank you, thank you, thank you )
4. A great job, where I sometimes sit down after arriving home and think “I’ve had the opportunity today to work on this and that, and really loved it, even if it was damn difficult”.
5. Friends to meet up with weekly for boardgames.
6. A good and improving relationship with my parents.
Better said, I used to not talk to my father.
We’re now on speaking terms.
I’m pretty happy about not needing to sigh anymore when I think about my mother. So yeah, things are improving, and I appreciate that.
7. Good income.
Sometimes I look back at the days when we had a small room with a putrefactory smell coming out of the closet from time to time, and I remember how happy we were as we bought our first curtains together. We had such a limited budget.
Or I remember my poorest days as a Work & Travel student, when all the money that did not go on rent, went into savings, and how I did not let myself buy Starbucks coffee, because it was too expensive. I still consider Starbucks coffee a treat.
8. The ability to make up images, and later transfer them on paper and canvas.
And having other people like them so much, they would actually pay for them.
9. All the little moments when the pieces of the world seem to fall well together, everything in its right place.
10. Finding other artists, writers, creators, and immersing myself into their work.
11. Finally, I am grateful for being able to look forward and having a good feeling about what is to come.
There is an excerpt in the book “Presence“, where one of the authors describes an extraordinary experience.
Going on a self-exploration workshop, he is left on a corner of an island for 7 days, with enough food and supplies to survive, with the purpose of staying there and just entering in touch with the environment. He is supposed to salute and give thanks in the four directions of North, East, South and West, every day at dawn and sunset. After a few days of performing this ritual, he describes how Nature responds back, first through seals looking at him almost humanly from meters away, then through a pair of whales jumping in the water at sunset.
I found this excerpt of the book extraordinarly touching – it shows how, if we are focused and truly mean the gratitude we send out, there is something out there that responds back. Most of the time we do not see it – but if our eyes, mind and heart are open, we might notice it easier.
What are you grateful for, in the year to come?