Gratitude for the Here and Now

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This is a picture I took of the window in my husband’s home office. Lately, every time I walk past this room I keep thinking there is a light on, but it is actually the brilliance of the leaves on our trees, illuminating the room. There is nothing like this time of year in the Midwest. Everything is crisper – the air, the light, the colors.

Doesn’t it look like the trees are bending a bit to try to see in through this window? I wonder if they are thinking, “Hey, what are you doing in the there? Can you see us? We are putting on quite a show for you at the moment! Come on out.” And while I know these beautiful leaves will be on the ground soon, my focus at the moment is on the awesomeness of right now. I am so grateful for this.

It is easy to look ahead and think about what will be missing a month from now. Doing that feels like robbery to me though. Like we are stealing from the beauty of what is right in front of us.

Brene Brown has some terrific insights into why we prevent ourselves from fully experiencing joy. She says that our fear that something we love will be taken away often moves us to dress rehearse tragedy. “It’s better to hold back and not fully embrace something lovely, so I’m less disappointed when it’s gone.” Awww…what a waste. Not only do we keep ourselves from fully experiencing love and beauty by doing this, we fool ourselves into thinking that we will actually experience less pain if something we care about is taken from us. Have you ever spoken to someone who had a loved one who died from a long, challenging medical issue? Did they talk about how they thought they had ‘prepared’ themselves for that person’s death, but it turned out they really hadn’t? We don’t control those things! They unfold the way they unfold.

Practicing gratitude for the here and now is the antidote to fear, and opens us up to joy. Sounds like a good plan to me!

 

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