Here are a few life examples that fill my gratitude (and happiness) bucket:
- Staring at the mid-day sky on a peaceful Saturday with an ever changing cloud landscape — perhaps seeing an eagle fly majestically overhead.
- Being in the backyard with my dog throwing his ball over and over again. The smile on his face is the same every time he brings it back and drops it at my feet.
- Being surprised by my adult children when they arrive unannounced for a weekend on the Island.
- Mounting a robin’s nest to the garage every spring, then see it fill with newborns from the nesting adults.
I am grateful for these, and similar, moments — those small times of beauty, connectedness and peacefulness.
I do find gratitude in my work as well — like visiting a school’s new Canoe Program to see the students light up as they paddle an Indigenous canoe, or my recent attendance this September at our district’s new Educational Assistant certificate program graduation.
Life’s issues and problems still exist — the work challenges are still there and life’s valleys haven’t gone away. Sometimes life is difficult.
If you have gratitude, you have the ability to see that your current problems are ‘right now’ and there will be better days ahead.
- I am having a difficult day at work RIGHT NOW
- The demands at work seem overwhelming RIGHT NOW
- The passing of my dad is causing such heart ache RIGHT NOW
When you use a lens of gratitude, you look past your present struggles, you are less hard on yourself and others, and you are able to see a path forward.
The true happiness I seek in life is when I look beyond my current struggles, and find those things that make a positive difference. Connection to my environment. Connection to the those people important to me. Connection to the happiness and pride in others’ accomplishments. And, yes, even to the connection with my dog and his pure joy of being with me.
When my days are difficult and it feels like the world is closing in, I will sometimes take the slow route to work or home. I may stop at a view overlooking the valley or the ocean and take a deep breath. I remind myself how lucky I am to live in this beautiful community and, most importantly, have people (and a great dog) in my life who care about me.
- This is what matters
- This is what life is about
- This defines my happiness