“When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude” -Cynthia Ozick
I was searching for the feeling of gratitude for much of the day. I let it be a slow day, not jumping out of bed early to exercise, letting myself have quiet writing time at home, taking the dogs and kids on a walk through my favorite nature park. I accomplished the necessary and left early for a late afternoon swim at the lake. When the kids all took the floatie out, I lay gazing up at the blue sky and heard the warm summer breeze on the banks while the dogs resting on either side of me.
Each moment had a glimmer of goodness in it, although it wasn’t until I closed my eyes at the lake and lay heavy on the earth that I started to feel it in my body. Increasingly, I find this fact to be true, that it is when I am living deeply in my body, exercising, taking a bath, sitting quietly with eyes closed, or sharing intimacy that my brain stress slips into neutral or sometimes seems to disappear completely. Like my Prius at a traffic light, I just am with no excess effort or noise.
There is very little that is terribly interesting about what I accomplish with my mind alone when it comes to gratitude. It is not really a thought form that I am after, nearly as much as a felt sense in my body that fills me and the day with attention to details; like how the air smells, or how someone’s skin feels next to you, or the sound of a voice. Living with our senses awake is grateful living and gracious, too.
By the evening, I was finally feeling it all and able to make an exhaustive list of the very many blessings that make my life incredible. What is it in our human makeup that allows us all to take so much for granted? Bringing awareness into the body helps to not only stop taking the miracle we call a body for granted, but it wakes up how we actually experience the gratitude we feel for life. Just go outside right now and smell the scent of summer in the air. Even in the sweltering heat, is there a smell that says summer and makes you grateful.
Seeking gratitude actively is a full body activity. So far, no recording in the gratitude journal.