Be Grateful

Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors. Richelle E. Goodrich

Resolve to develop a habit of waking up with an attitude of gratitude. As soon as you open your eyes and sort things out (e.g., where you are and how you got there), smile and exclaim a few words suitable to the occasion. An example might be something along these lines:

Holy cow! I’m still alive. I’m going to have some fun today! Everything’s going to be all right! I am so grateful to the universe for my good fortune.

You can come up with a more personal, satisfying exclamation, no doubt.

The reasons for gratitude are endless, beyond being alive. Chances are, you have a roof over your head, you don’t struggle to get enough to eat and your basic needs are comfortably met. No cause for pessimism in any of that.

Be creative in your thoughts about gratitude. For instance, you might decide to be thankful that it’s the 21st century, not some grim period and/or place in history, such as during the 700 years when Pope Paul III’s Holy Office of the Universal Inquisition went on a tear to maintain and defend the integrity of the faith and proscribe errors and false doctrines. As one partial to a few errors and false doctrines myself, (Don), I’m grateful that I live in a time and place where I can’t be found guilty of riding a bicycle on a Sunday, thereby finding myself chained upside down, nekked, in a dungeon, attended by holier-than-thou maniacal sadists. Now that’s something to be grateful about.

Another way of commemorating this positive attitude, besides the personal felt appreciation for your own good fortune, is to be of service to others. Consider reaching out to extend charity, knowledge and/or assistance in your special ways to someone or many others. Susan Bradley-Cox loved the sport of triathlon, and many other sports she enjoyed growing up, and knew that others would enjoy such activities, as well, if given a helping hand getting started. As a result, she now devotes considerable time to volunteer coaching in several disciplines, including cheerleading and gymnastics, sports in which she excelled as a young girl. Of note – Susan organized a triathlon nearly two decades ago in order to raise funds for eye research – and that event is now in its 17th year. Can you guess for whom the USAT sanctioned Susan Bradley-Cox Tri for Sight is named?

Bottom line – don’t take your good fortune and bright future for granted. Billions of people do not have luxuries or much of a life at all. Few in the long arc of human history could imagine the good fortune that you enjoy. Anu Garg captured this idea without going back centuries to express some of the wonders of contemporary life relative to decades ago when participants in this project were schoolchildren:

Imagine just 50 years ago, you met someone who told you that in the future you’d be carrying a radio, a television, a record player, a calculator, a clock, a camera, a photo album, a library, not to mention a telephone, with you every day, everywhere. And all this would nicely fit in your pocket. (Source: A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg, Wordsmith.org, January 28, 2018.)

Which brings to mind Winston Allen’s advice about gratitude:

Be sure to acknowledge and thank the person/persons who have helped you significantly in attaining your successes before you, or they, pass on. I have done this by letter and in person and it made me feel good about myself knowing I would have regretted it if I didn’t.

Yes, be grateful and don’t be shy about showing it. Optimistic, grateful people are happier and healthier people and they usually share their good fortune with others!

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