Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

It’s Thanksgiving week, so I suppose a post on gratitude is in order.  And A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day by John Tierney in today’s New York Times makes my job really easy.

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners.

What’s not to like?!  The article looks at what gratitude is, suggests ways to integrate gratitude into your life, and presents some findings that show expressing gratitude will make you happier.

Without making a conscious decision to bring more gratitude in my life, I’ve noticed over the past years that I am a lot more grateful.  I think it may have started with death, maybe illness, maybe age.

And in order to keep it real, I’ve been playing a game with myself for a while that keeps me remembering to be grateful or consider a different perspective.  Every time (not really every time, but a lot) I have a complaint or think something negative, I make myself come up with a counter statement of gratitude.   Okay, an example.  If I’m feeling old and achy, I say I’m grateful that my body can still exercise regularly.  If the wrinkle between my brow is looking particularly deep, I express gratitude that I can still see the wrinkle!   If my child wants me to lie with him again at bed time, inevitably meaning I’ll fall asleep and not read my novel, I’m grateful that he still wants to lie with me.  And on and on.  I can still be annoyed with the aches and pains, the wrinkles and the lack of time for myself, but I can also keep them in perspective, and for whatever reason that keeps me feeling better.

Be grateful, be thankful and have a lovely Thanksgiving if you celebrate it!

I watched a TED talk by Roger Ebert a few days ago.  It made me cry.  I only vaguely knew of his story, and I had never seen him at the height (or was it the height?) of his career as a movie critic… when he was part of Siskel and Ebert.  I didn’t watch them, but it was hard not to know of their thumbs up and down rating system.

For someone to put themselves out there is such a public way…mouth literally hanging open, is incredibly moving.  There he is with what looks like a perpetual goofy smile on his face talking about incredibly hard things and looking unflinchingly into the audience.  He calls it like it is and shares his pain and struggle.  I can imagine an overpowering desire to disappear, to hide, but he holds on to the voice he lost.  (Click here to watch and hear his talk.  I encourage you to check it out… even for a few minutes.)

Everyone has their particular circumstances.  Their particular challenges, handicaps, and weaknesses, alongside their strengths, gifts and  successes.  It’s what we do of all these things that make up who we are.  I am moved and inspired by this man, Roger Ebert’s, strength and will and vulnerability and sense of humor.  May we all live our lives with the grace and humility he has found and shared.