the power of gratitude...

Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal in cultivating joy in our lives. Ever available to us, though rarely acknowledged, the power of saying thank you helps transform the ordinary into extraordinary.  As we begin to move deeper into (the deep freeze) that is 2014, picking up this simple practice of saying thank you can warm the heart. Whether you say it to someone who holds the door, to your partner for a simple act of kindness that generally goes unnoticed or in writing to a friend who touched your heart in some way great or small.  In truth, we live lives that are blessed. If you woke up to receive this day- that is a gift.  If you did so with a roof over your head, heat in your home, in a body that functions, with enough food to eat consider yourself blessed. Gratitude offers us a doorway into recognizing just how much we have to be thankful for in each moment. It brings us into presence with the remarkable truth that each moment, each breath is a gift.  We tend to waste a lot of energy focusing on what is missing from our lives- that elusive thing out there that would certainly make us happy. When the reality is, happiness is an inside job and the starting point for experiencing it is acknowledging all that you already have.  When we dwell in a sense of lack we feel despondent, hopeless, helpless. When we dwell in gratitude we begin to see how life is conspiring in our favor. And while the season of resolution making may traditionally be viewed as behind us- i invite you to consider one more.  Live a life of thank you.  Flex your gratitude muscle- see if you can say thank you five times today. Or start making a gratitude list in your mind and heart on waking in the morning or going to sleep at night. Or try this for a  new family practice: Get yourself a big old glass jar and on a slip of paper, as you feel so inspired, scribble down something you found to be grateful for that day & toss it in-- do this throughout the year and come December 31, 2014 as we prepare to bid adieu to this year, dump it out & review these moments that touched your heart. These little snapshots of moments serve a beautiful reminder of how truly blessed we are.

(this blog was featured in a newsletter for the amazing folks over at hartshorn portraiture, who occupy a special place in the depths of my heart... the image here, of me & my beloved savoring a moment of grateful captured by mac, himself.)