Every morning one of the first things I do is to write down at least five things I have to be grateful for in my life. I have been doing this for years now. So many people I know do this in November in preparation for Thanksgiving, but every day is a day to give thanks, not just one month. So why not give thanks every day. Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance writes five things every night, but at night I am too brain dead to clearly think about what I am grateful for, so I write mine first thing in the morning as I sip on my morning coffee or tea.
It is not so much about when you give thanks but that you do. It is not so much about how much you have but your recognition of it and ability to give thanks for it. It is so easy to give thanks when life is going well. However, when we are going through a challenging time, sometimes it is hard to give thanks. It is hard to give thanks when you are going through. Yet this is the very time it is most important because doing so helps us to see how blessed we are. Practicing gratitude keeps us mindful that we have everything we need, even when it may not feel like it. For example, for three months of each year, I have little to no income. I can work on saving each month, but then the financial drought season hits. It is a frustrating time as life feels like window shopping. There are so many things I see that I want to do or would like to have, but they are not a necessity, so they stay where they are behind the window. It is in those moments that I have to stop and give thanks and remind myself or be reminded by my wife that we have an abundance. Even when it feels like we are struggling, we are living in a space of abundance.
That is one of the reasons decluttering is so important to me. It reminds me of my abundance. Several months ago, a friend of mine was laughing at how few clothes I have in my closet and how every few months I am giving away bags of clothes. It is not just clothes, but anything in our house that we no longer need or use or have no purpose for. The more we give back to the universe, the more I have to be grateful for. Part of the blessings comes in recognizing how truly blessed I am and the abundance which fills my life.
This process of decluttering reminds me why the song says let the poor say they are rich. See being rich is not about material wealth, but an awareness of abundance in one’s life. One can be rich beyond measure, but so greedy because they need more wealth. As I donate and give to others, it reminds me not to be greedy. It reminds me I already have everything I need. It reminds me there is a difference between want and need.
This morning I give thanks because it reminds me of how blessed I am. No matter what else is happening in my life, I have this moment to be grateful for. This moment is exactly that – this moment. When I am grateful for this moment, then I am not worried about the moments from yesterday or tomorrow and what they may or may not be like. Rather I am grateful for this moment and the opportunity to just be.