I’m guilty of always rushing to the next thing. Even in the stillness of morning, sometimes I can’t help but think about the rest of the day spanning out in front of me and all that I have to do. I’ll be silent for a moment, raise my warm cup of tea to my lips and take a deep breath. But then I’ll spin into the next stream of thoughts, never really taking the time to rest in what is. This is something I’ve been working on—living in gratitude, slowing down—because when I do, it brings such value to the spaces and people around me.
I never thought about thankfulness needing silence, needing peace. As someone who’s always ran three hundred miles an hour in the direction she wants to go, I’ve always spoken my words and prayers of gratitude in motion. Not quick or rushed, necessarily, but forever moving. Forever going, going, going.
But there is value in stillness, too. There is value in reshaping the way we react, the way we’re wired, and what feels natural, to be intentional. And wherever you are right now, whatever’s sitting on your heart, and regardless of the way you typically move—fast or slow—I hope you join me in this journey of gratitude as present. Gratitude as stillness. Gratitude right here.
Take a few moments in the morning to rest and wakeup.
How often to you jump out of bed at the sound of your alarm, never giving yourself a moment to stretch, to exhale, to pull slowly out of a dream? Or, alternatively, how often to you hit snooze, longing to keep yourself away from the ‘real world’ as long as possible?
Learning to live in gratitude, for me, has been about taking a few extra moments to be where I am—in wake, in sleep—and settle before hurrying to the next thing. I’m a morning person, but sometimes that alarm is just too hard. I’ll snooze on occasion, but what I’ve been working on is setting the alarm a few minutes earlier so that I can just rest in the quiet of my bedroom before getting up. I roll over, I sit in silence for a moment and think about the day, I scroll through a few of my notifications, then I slowly get my body into motion.
Speak words of peace over yourself.
Whether you’re stressed or just going through a normal day, taking a second to speak words of peace can shift your whole perspective. Instead of worrying about what you need to do, or running around getting ready—stop—just for a second. Say, “I am capable. I am getting there. I am doing the best I can. I’ve got this.” Then continue, believing in those truths.
Spread love to the people around you as often as you can.
Gratitude is not supposed to be shared only with yourself. Instead, open to the people around you. If you live with someone, be intentional about telling or showing them you care. Reach out and open your arms for a hug. Listen when someone needs you to. Show up.
So often we go through our days on autopilot, forgetting to do the simple things that reflect how much we care. Don’t let another day pass you by without sharing your love with the people who matter.
Slow down and recognize what you have and where you are.
On your morning commute, on your mid-afternoon lunch break, in a lull in your busy day, reflect on where you’ve come from and what surrounds you. When we’re chasing dreams, getting through the work week, moving at such a fast pace, we fail to recognize all that we’ve accomplished. While it isn’t bad to be moving forward, we must also acknowledge the people we’ve become and what we have all around us.
Whether that’s a home, a family, a career, a sense of stability—anything, really—take a moment to fully recognize and celebrate your blessings. Then take a moment to celebrate you, too.
Appreciate the lows as a balance to the highs.
Pain is inevitable, but don’t sit in it. If you’re going through something tough, try to acknowledge that you won’t be here forever. Understand that life is a balance of both good and bad and when you see yourself through the bad, you’ll recognize the importance of it.
Suffering is not meant to be, yet it is our greatest teacher. Through the lows we learn our strength, our values, our resilience, and our hope. Be thankful for these moments. They are temporary. You will survive and look back with newfound grace.
Stop doing, running, changing, and be still. Be still and do nothing but exist on this earth, recognizing what a small, yet integral part you play. Sometimes there is nothing to be done but to be. And in the natural stillness, you will live in gratitude unconsciously.
Featured Image Credit: Alicia Petresc