How does one “practice” gratitude? This idea came up during the conversation with my friend last night, at which time I expressed how I am my own worst enemy and often full of discontent. I realized that while I know I should be grateful for so much, and I voice that gratitude, I’m not sure I feel it or practice it. I’m not sure I know how.
I am, however, an expert in longing. In fact, if in fifty years I’m lucky enough to be sitting in a chair being interviewed about my life’s works, my oeuvre, I would probably say that most of my writing was compelled by a feeling of longing which I transposed onto my characters.
Still, at some blessed moments, like last night when I sat on the couch with tea and an orange, a kitty curled over my feet, my husband sitting nearby with our other kitty, and all of us watching for the hundredth time one of our favorite BBC shows, I thought, “if this is as good as life ever gets, I’d be perfectly happy until my dying day.” Is that practicing gratitude…noticing the moment, appreciating it, feeling content, not wanting more…?
Each day at work we receive a quote, or “Daily Reflection” as our organization calls them, in our email inbox. This was today’s:
Take full account of the excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not.
~ Marcus Aurelius
Being November, it is the month in our corner of the world when we try to focus on such things as gratitude and thankfulness. All of this has led me to believe that today’s writerly act must be practicing gratitude…taking account of all the excellencies in my life. For someone always looking to the future and being propelled forward by a constant state of longing, I’m not entirely sure how to do this most successfully, but I’m going to take my cue from last night…stay in the moment, appreciate what I have, and try not to want. At least for today…