On two separate occasions within this past week, I met some longtime friends for dinner. We spent the time together telling stories to catch one another up on our latest happenings. Laughter, love, and joy filled the atmosphere.
Being with people I care about but do not get to see regularly creates in me gratefulness for that given moment. However, in these two settings, my gratitude was increased beyond just the opportunity of spending time with old friends. On both occasions at the end of dinner, my friends picked up my check and paid for my dinner. These similar yet separate acts of kindness filled my heart with gratitude. I am so very thankful for their friendship, love, selflessness, and compassion.
As I gave thanks for my friends, I thought about some ways we can show gratitude. Here are some ideas for you when you want to extend gratitude:
- Tell a friend how much he/she means to you
- Handwrite a thank you note
- Put a stickie note of thanks somewhere random for a loved one
- Pay it forward by paying for the person in line behind you at your favorite coffee shop
- No matter the size of your leftovers, get a to-go box and give to the first person you see who needs something to eat
- Open a door for someone
Just the smallest act of gratitude can fill our hearts with joy and happiness. In addition, it can be very contagious… your action may very well inspire the recipient to pass on some gratitude to another.
I was reminded of a blessing of gratitude I read from author Pierre Pradervand. If you are willing, say this blessing at the start of each day and watch your level of gratitude increase:
May this day be a constant canticle [hymn or chant] of gratitude from now on till I retire tonight.
May I welcome any negative event with gratitude for the growth it will produce in my life.
May I face every single encounter with gratitude for the manifestation of divine love it represents.
May I react to any disgruntled, depressed, angry or sad face with gratitude that my blessings can uplift and help dissolve them.
May I eat my meals with gratitude for all those who have participated in bringing them on to my table.
However tedious, unimportant or boring my work may appear, may I perform it with the understanding that the very act of giving thanks can profoundly transform it.
And above all, may I understand that the choice between complaint, indifference, and gratitude is mine at every…moment of my life.
Here at Refuge, we are honored to walk with you on your journey toward a joyful life. Please visit our site at http://refugecenter.org.