Gratitude*

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Life is busy. Hard. Stressful.

There are days when there is so much to do that it doesn’t feel like there is time to even sit still for a moment from dawn until dusk. When there is so much to do that you go into auto-pilot mode–buzzing from task to task just to get things done and off your to-do list.

But when your focus is solely on doing things for the sake of getting them done, you miss out on so, so much.

Auto pilot busy-ness isn’t always a bad thing, but neither is taking the time to pause and enjoy the journey.

Last week was an auto-pilot week for me. I had assignments due, work was busy, and there were events to plan, organize and prepare for. By Wednesday night I was completely in auto-pilot mode. I’m not even sure if I was registering what I was doing, my body just kicked into gear and got it done.

My brain was pretty much broken, and my spirit was low. I felt a bit like I was drowning beneath all the things I was “obligated” to do.

That’s exactly how I saw them. Obligations.

…and then, as I zoned in and out of the talks on Wednesday night (I was running on very little sleep), I zoned in to hear a story about a man who found himself in a situation very similar to mine. In an attempt to find happiness, he tried to set up small goals where he believed happiness could be achieved upon completion.

Things like…

“If I can just survive the morning and make it to lunch, I’ll be happy.”

“If I can complete two things on my to-do list, I’ll be happy.”

“If I can go an hour without fighting with {insert person here}, I’ll be happy.”

“Once this day is done, I’ll be happy.”

…sound familiar?

As the speaker listed off this man’s goals, I had flashbacks of myself saying them over and over in my day-to-day life, especially during busy weeks.

The problem is, completing those things usually only brings a temporary happiness, that disappears once things pile up again and life gets busy. Then it’s back to the list, and back to the If / Then statements.

This man didn’t experience true happiness until he made time to enjoy the doing. The joy in the work. The joy of results. The joy in knowing that what you do makes a difference.

He realized that happiness is in the journey, not the destination.

As I listened intently, I felt a little ashamed. I have absolutely nothing to complain about–sure, life is hard sometimes, but there is also so. much. joy. And I need to focus on that.

So, as I reflected on the message and ways that I can apply it to my own life, I’ve decided to have a new Sunday post:

A Gratitude Journal.

Every Sunday I’ll write ten things I’m grateful for. They may be big things, or (depending on the week) they may be small things. But I hope it will help me be more aware of the many joys in my life, and to be grateful for them.

I hope it will help me enjoy the journey.

———-

Today I am thankful for…

1) Patches of beautiful brown grass.
2) Family.
3) Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
4) My husband, and how after almost six years of marriage his hand still reaches for mine when we’re out walking.
5) Our “sauna house”.
6) Brownies.
7) Gumpos.
8) Unexpected words of encouragement.
9) Good jobs.
10) Quiet, peaceful moments.

 

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