Monday Motivation - Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart


Good Morning; it is Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and that you were able to hear and enjoy life’s music everywhere. To be more aware of what you have vs. have not; to appreciate those things that money cannot buy; like, the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, laughter of those around you, good friends and family, the love (and licks) of a furry friend, etc. As Thornton Wilder says, “we are most alive when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

Are you conscious of all the treasures in your life? Are you aware of all the good that happens to you daily? Have you made a commitment to focus on the good stuff? As each second passes, your life is unfolding. Life is a kaleidoscope; a combination of “highs”, “lows”, and “in-betweens”. It is easy to forget this and go into a funk when you are not experiencing the “up times”. But an important life lesson is to be on the look-out for, to find and acknowledge appreciation and gratitude no matter your current life circumstances. There is always something to be grateful for if you just open your eyes, mind and heart.

This life lesson became very clear to me last week as I experienced a myriad of ups, downs and challenges with my pets. I have two miniature dachshunds who have been part of my life for the past 13 ½ years, Kirby and Jersey (litter mates). They are very much a significant part of my family. Kirby had to undergo surgery to remove some tumors, but he was in good hands at the U of M Vet Hospital (they are phenomenal). The surgery went well and initially, he was doing great; then, a series of challenges occurred, and I was back and forth with him to the hospital. His sister, Jersey, due to the stress of the situation, contracted stress colitis and ended up in urgent care at the U of M as well. At the time of writing this, both are on the mend and I know that they will both recover and be fine.

So, why am I telling you this story? Because amidst all this challenge and stress, my eyes were opened to the significant caring, kindness and compassion I experienced from all who I encountered at the U of M (students, staff, doctors, nurses, technicians, etc.); going out of their way to share a helping hand and kindness through their words and deeds. You might think, “well, that is their job…” Yes, it is their job, but the treatment I received was such genuine human connection and caring; truly above and beyond the call of duty. Then, I had to hunt down a special prescription for Kirby that I needed to order through a pharmacy. Walgreens in Champlin, MN helped me with this special medication order. The woman I worked with rushed the order and found a coupon for me (unbeknownst to me at the time) that saved me $100.00 off the cost of the prescription. Wow! She did not have to go out of her way to do this; but she did! Of course, I shared my appreciation and gratitude with those at the U of M and Walgreens, but what a reminder. My eyes were again opened to what humanity is all about; kindness, caring and connection.

These experiences deeply tuned me in to feelings of appreciation and gratefulness. As a result, I immediately began to see more to be grateful for the remainder of that day and the days that followed. You see a central truth of life is that we always find what we look for; so, if we look for things that we appreciate and are grateful for; then, we will begin to see more of those things that cross our path. As Oprah Winfrey said, “If you start focusing on what you have and what you are grateful for, you will begin to see more.”

So now you might be thinking, “How do I create more gratitude in my life?” Well, it is easy, and you already know how to do it; the hard thing is reminding yourself to do it. Following are five ideas that I pulled from Mike Robbins’ book, “Focus on the Good Stuff”. You don’t have to do all five; just pick one that resonates with you and do it, or create your own:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each day write down 3 – 5 things for which you are grateful.

  • Share your gratitude with others. Each day share with others’ things for which you are grateful.

  • Create a morning or evening ritual. Before you get out of bed or before you go to sleep make mental note of things in your life for which you are grateful. Pick different things each day.

  • Ask people what they are grateful for. Throughout your day ask people you encounter what they are grateful for.

  • Use a gratitude rock. Find a small rock, crystal or stone. Place it in your pocket or purse. Each time you reach your hand into your pocket or purse and touch the rock, think about something for which you are grateful.

Again, you only need to pick one and practice it. You don’t have to be perfect. If you begin to put this positive practice to work in your life, I am sure you will begin to see transformation occur. There is something in every day to celebrate with thanksgiving; no matter what your current life circumstances.

As Abraham Maslow stated, “This is the gift – to have the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”

Repeat this mantra each morning, “I am grateful for the many blessings coming my way.”

Have a great day and a great week!

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