I think about gratitude a lot–the why, the how, the when (you didn’t think it was that complicated, did you). Recently I was thinking about how there are two kinds.
Gratitude One is where you are brought to your knees by shitty life circumstances and you have to sit yourself down (or just lie in traffic) and make a list of what you do have. Like your list might read: shelter, bed, food. It might read: shoes, dog, underwear. It could read: eyes, feet, heart. This is the kind of grateful game that asks you to focus on the basics, the basics we often forget because we’re thinking about all the stuff we don’t have.
Gratitude Two is the variety that you get down with when things happen that are great. It’s the kind that reminds you of the terrific luck, good fortune, or just plain hard fucking work that brought you to the moment. I was recently able to re-do my backyard. Wahoo! Some people might think, “I should have had this backyard all along. It’s taken me forever to get this to happen.” But the better way of looking at it would be, “I am so fucking lucky to be able to have this backyard NOW. I’m going to celebrate every gosh darn day I can hang out here. Damn!” Gratitude Two seems less important than Gratitude One because I mean feet vs. backyard reno. doesn’t really seem equal, but the thing is that being grateful when good things happen for you is vital to you being able to keep a nice perspective, and prevent you from becoming a jaded douche bag. And let’s face it, nobody likes a jaded douche bag. It’s not cool to take things for granted. Feeling entitled to hitting the lottery, is ugly. Ugly like Trump’s soul. YES, that ugly.
I actually believe that when you’re on gratitude alert, your life improves. I believe this like some people believe in Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism. The state of being grateful pulls you into the present moment and always puts you in a sunnier place. Even when it’s pouring down rain. And the awesomeness is that you are in charge of it. It’s in your hands–available and accessible 24/7. You can play, or not. Game on.
It sounds easy to do, and really it is, but it’s a practice. You have to do it, and then get up and do it again. Pretty soon, it will become like brushing your teeth. You’ll find yourself stopping on the highway to admire the sunset, or putting something fabulous in your pie hole, and moaning with grateful dee-light, or getting into your bed at night, crazy exhausted and realizing how freaking lucky you are that you have this sacred place to get some rest.
I can roll off-track and derail from time to time. I can find myself in the deep woods with a bad case of “the wants,” but I just keep doing what I know to do, pulling myself back to the present and enlisting gratitude to help me find my way. This is the deal–gratitude allows you to understand that what you have is more than enough, and better than the best pair of glasses for seeing the world.