Something I find interesting is how easy it is to take something for granted. I just assume it will always be there when I need it and I kind of forget to be thankful for it. I just assume it will always be there and has always been there… until one day it’s not.
Subtraction can be an inspiring source of gratitude. When something is removed, especially unexpectedly, it causes me to pause and count my blessings for it having been there in the first place. That something we always counted on leaves a big hole that helps me realize just how much I should have appreciated it all the time.
This one subtle concept of appreciation and gratitude through subtraction is so interesting to me as it seems so opposite of what it is trying to accomplish. Shouldn’t I appreciate it more while it is here instead of when it is gone?
The Dalai Lama shared how he focuses his brain on thinking that his favorite vase is already broken so he remembers to appreciate it while he still has it. This is in the same vein, but slightly different. How can I force myself into this way of thinking more regularly to increase my gratitude? Each morning should I think of something important to me and imagine that it were no longer in my life? How would my actions change throughout the day? Would I spend more time focused on how much I am grateful for it? Would my life be enriched through the additional gratitude?
That’s something I’m going to focus on this week. Each morning I’m going to pick one thing that I take for granted as always being there and see how it changes my appreciation and attitude throughout the day. I’ll let you know how it works over the next couple of days. If you have other ideas along these line please let me know.
Full disclosure, do you know what got me thinking about all of this today? A broken washing machine. How funny that lessons in gratitude can be found in something so ordinary and mundane as a broken appliance! I just ned to keep my eyes open.
Earlier in the day I got a text from a teammate. It was addressed to the entire team and said “I suggest you all do this.” Attached was a picture of a book being read in the sunshine.
My teams read a book together and each month we all get together for a Zoom to discuss the most recent chapter. The book we’re currently reading is Mindset by Carolyn Dweck. I hadn’t read this week’s chapter yet. Taking her advice I spent a little time outside reading in the sun today and it was AMAZING!!!
I’ve got my habits, routines, and idiosyncrasies. For some silly reason one of them is that if I’m working I should be in an office (at the office building or in the home office). I hate to admit it, but I’d never even realized I didn’t have to read inside when it was related to my career.
That one text helped me see the world through a different set of eyes and try something different. Not only did I get the chapter read but I also felt more refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the rest of the day. Thirty minutes of fresh air and sun was AWESOME!!! I’m so thankful wonderful suggestions from teammates like reading in the sun.