The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu wrote:
“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking
the whole world belongs to you.”
A few years ago, I started writing in a gratitude journal. In the beginning, I tried to write five things each morning for which I was grateful. The practice encouraged me to look back on the past 24 hours and recall all the good aspects of the day, and I also discovered I was more aware of special moments and simple blessings as they occurred. I soon filled the little book, and began another. Now I keep the journal by the chair where I sit each morning to drink my coffee, pray and meditate, and I write it in often.
Too easily, I can slip into being critical and focusing on things that aren’t happening according to my expectations. What I’ve learned is that if I instead try to see my life through the eyes of a grateful heart, I’m more accepting and content.
This week, for some reason I’ve been especially aware of the sweet sounds around me. On Tuesday morning I wrote:
“I am grateful for the sounds that add so much richness to our world. While I was waking up this morning I heard a distant train, which always reminds me of our dad. A brief rain shower moved through at 5:30, with just the softest drum of raindrops on the roof. Just outside the living room window right now, crickets are calling a soothing refrain.”
Today I’m sitting at the kitchen table writing this post, and two gangs of birds have just started some sort of skirmish in the neighbor’s maple trees. With my heightened awareness of sounds this week, I have to pause and take in the drama. The magpies appear to be moving in on the bluejays’ turf, but I’m not sure. It’s a noisy, glorious commotion, and I am glad we have so many beautiful birds in our trees—both the small, quiet ones and the big, squawky ones.
How about you? Do you write in a gratitude journal? If so, perhaps you’d like to join me in focusing on sounds this week. Or would you like to start a practice of writing thankful thoughts? Maybe you have your own way of finding contentment in the sweet, simple moments of daily life. As always, I’d love to hear your comments.
Poet Kahil Gibran wrote:
“Wake at dawn with winged heart and
give thanks for another day of loving.”
May you find grace and wonder in your daily journey,