Tuesday Talk: On Gratitude

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There is a common sentiment that floats around. I hear it from friends and family; I read about on blogs and in articles. It’s inevitable. It’s a part of life, a part of the human condition.

The sentiment?

Time passes too quickly.

We’ve all had that feeling before. The feeling where the days just pass by, the weeks, the months, the years. Suddenly life feels like a blur and we wish we could have slowed down, put on the brakes, and soaked it all up.

In my own experiences with this feeling, I’ve found only one solution.

Gratitude.

Each time you stop to look at a moment through the lens of gratitude- each time you realize your ‘luck’ at just being there- the moment extends. When you stop to really look at a moment, suddenly you’ve slowed down enough that you notice the sounds and smells around you, the way things feel. You see the moment with wonder. You wake up.

What got me thinking about this most recently was some unsavory weather conditions on a backpacking trip. All day I had been freezing, curled up in my sleeping bag in a hammock. Mid-afternoon, we found ourselves inside of a cloud, in the middle of an hours-long drizzle. No more fishing, no more sunning on a rock reading by the lake shore. But I kept realizing I was smiling. Being a human, and being that sometimes things like being cold make me grumpy, I started to wonder why it felt okay this time, why I felt so calm. I didn’t feel like our trip was ruined, not one bit.

The trees on the ridge looked beautiful in the high mist. The ploppy sound of the raindrops was funny. I could hear a distant stream gurgling, and it was calming. My body was so cold that I could feel every toe and finger, every muscle flexing to keep warm; the cool air on my cheeks reminded me of childhood nights playing outside so long that my cheeks felt this exact same way. The search for sun behind the clouds was hopeful.

There was absolutely nothing to do but sit there and notice the things around me. And I began to feel that all these things were good things after all: beauty, funniness, calm, childhood, hope. And I began to realize how lucky I was to be there in the rain to notice them all. What an ordinary and awesome moment.

It was gratitude sneaking up on me, reminding me of its effect. 🙂

Life is changing. Things are ending. Things are starting. Right now, and almost always. With this I wonder how long I’ll be able to so vividly recall that rainstorm, that time when my senses were so awake, when I felt like the luckiest person in the world just to be in the middle of it, thankful for that snippet of time.

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