“To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.”     -Albert Schweitzer

On the most difficult days, in the darkest recesses of your mind, look at what life is holding for you. I am still learning to reinvent my world with gratitude, but all I have to do is ask this one question “ If this was the last moment on the last day,  what/ who do I love?”  Then I realize how much love is in me for my family, my pets, my employees,  my work, my home, my garden. Imagine this to be the last moment of your life and then open your eyes and look at what you have created or better still, what has created you.

I know that I am re-connecting the wiring in my brain with this work because my internal tendency is a glass half full. I know the physical experience of anxiety as a default state. For many years, I remember feeling afraid to be happy because I believed if I was happy, some terrible things would happen to me or the people I love. Irrational fears that we learn from our original families often go on for generations.

Changing the pattern of thinking and bearing witness to the miraculous changes available just by how we see and think of the world is an education in gratitude. Some of the most inspiring stories that are coming into the Summer of Gratitude contest are stories of people who came close to death- either their own or someone else’s. The near miss seems to be the most profound wake-up call to gratitude of all.

Educating yourself in gratitude by giving thanks for the love and beauty in your days as if they might all be gone in an instant is  the second chance that is available to all of us.