One of the most tangible ways in which the practice of gratitude can transform our lives is by opening our eyes to the possibilities and opportunities that are all around us…opportunities and possibilities that we did not see before because we were focused on what wasn’t working, on what wrong with everyone and everything. It’s as if we’ve had blinders on, and the practice of gratitude gently pulls them off. We begin to see a beautiful world full of possibilities. We begin to see the potential within us. We begin in see the connectedness of everything, and how everything is working together for our good…if we will but recognize it!
Let’s take a few obvious examples, just to illustrate the point. Say I was unemployed and couldn’t find a job to save my life. Now, rather than constantly bemoan my circumstance and blame the government for my predicament I’m practicing gratitude. I’m thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for as I’m driving down the road. Suddenly I realize I’m lost. I find myself on a new street and again, rather than falling prey to anger and blame, I notice what beautiful trees are lining this street. I’m suddenly grateful that I took a wrong turn. Then I notice that behind the beautiful trees, which I’m grateful for, is a building I never noticed before. “Oh look, it Burt’s Bees. Hmmmm, I didn’t know they were headquartered here. Gee, I wonder if they’re hiring.” I go in, submit my resume, and in a few days I have a job at the company I’ve always admired.
Or, say I find myself in a coffee house. It’s very busy and I have to wait in a long line. Rather than bemoan the inconvenience and stress about how late I am, I silently express my gratitude for the opportunity to have coffee, for soy milk so that lactose intolerant folks like me can still enjoy lattes, for the creative way the place is decorated, for the people around me. Then, the cute guy in front of me remarks about the weather, or the song they’re playing, and we start up a conversation…which either leads to romance and a relationship or a business opportunity.
Or, I’ve taken my kids to the library to pick out some fun books to read at bedtime. I’m grateful for my children and for this time I get to spend with them. I’m grateful for this library and the people who work here. As we’re walking through the isles on the way to check out, a self-help book catches my eye. I pick it up and check it out. It turns out to be a book that has a significant impact on my life.
I can think of many for examples, and so can you. In fact, if you’d like to share an example from your own life in the comment section below, we’d love to hear it.
We are all deeply connected to possibilities that can turn our lives around in ways we can’t even imagine. But we’ll miss them all if we’re focused on what’s not working, and who’s to blame. Gratitude opens our eyes to the connectedness of all things and the abundance of opportunities all around us.