Wake Up Wake Up
I love that old song from the Blues Brothers, where James Brown belts out a rousing tune where he implores people to wake up before the time comes. I thought that line was fitting for today's topic, positive framing and gratefulness. I was talking with a friend the other day and she had mentioned that she was feeling a bit down about things and that nothing seemed to be exciting for her anymore. For starters, this is a good friend of mine who I have known for years and one I can be brutally honest with. I said what are you grateful for? She looked around and said “I don't know; my friends, my family, good health?” I asked her when she was truly grateful for them? She didn’t know. And there lies part of the problem. How can you positively frame things if you aren't grateful for all you have? The Stoics believed that a person's happiness was dictated by thankfulness and for the gifts bestowed to them. There is a great Ted talk by Benedictine Monk David Steidi Rest, where he expresses that true happiness comes from gratefulness. His point is that every moment we have is a gift. The opportunity of that moment to enjoy and to be happy, to be content.
It does require us to be a little more present in our daily lives to see it. It is easy to take for granted all that is offered in this world. We have fresh clean air, water, food, access to electricity and plentiful job opportunities. Most cannot enjoy these freedoms around the world, and still we are not screaming for joy for all that we have! The belief I have is that we have become entitled, or accustomed to it. If you have ever traveled outside the U.S. to another 3rd world country, you can appreciate this. When you return, you can instantly appreciate the daily comforts we have, but it fades. So how do we keep this feeling of abundance every day? To go back to my friends comment earlier regarding who she is grateful for, it starts with a routine. A routine in which I start my day with journaling my thoughts, both from the day before and frame of mind for today. It helps me to slow down and remind myself of all of the wonderful things I have in my life and the many blessings I enjoy. It also helps me to reinforce my day with great abundance. This helps me see the opportunities I encounter, to be present and grateful which of course is better than an abyss of being oblivious and dissatisfied.