Do you ever experience moments of sudden and unanticipated gratitude?
I do—every day.
Thanksgiving, for me, is a lovely excuse to eat good food with friends and/or family; it is not, however, a better occasion than any other to feel thankful.
Gratitude hits at unexpected moments…
A twist of recognition in my stomach as I look up from my work on my computer and out the cafe or apartment window.
A spark of acknowledgement when I slide my latest lunch or dinner creation out of the frying pan and onto my plate.
A glitter of exhilaration as I study my schedule for the week ahead—free of routine and full of adventure.
On the street, metro, train, bus, airplane, ferry; in bed, at work, in a cafe, at a dance class; in movement, in stillness, in quiet, in noise—the sharp-sweet realization that this is my life (I have made it exactly to my measurements) hits often.
It is a feeling of thankfulness free of guilt or regret.
Here is my body—strong and able to pull me up boulders, hoops, surfboards, poles and mountains. Here are my hands, agile and capable of earning me my daily bread, with enough left over for a steady supply of plane tickets. Here is my heart, free and open to love, to poetry, to wonder.
Here is the sun, the sea, the mountains and the city, and I am in it. The sun on my skin, the salt in my hair, the mountains at my back, the city at my fingertips—I am in all of it.
Here is my life—mine—and it’s hard to say exactly how it came to be as it is, but I feel only gratitude for the paths it has taken.
The thing is…the thing is…hmm…
The thing is, I’m not grateful because I can travel freely, move freely and think freely. Well, of course I am (I’d be crazy not to appreciate such vast freedom), but it’s more than that.
If I look at those twists, sparks and glitters of realization—I mean really look at them—I notice something. My acknowledgement is not only of opportunity, ability and freedom granted. I am not just grateful that I can do what I do; I am grateful that I am where I am, doing what I’m doing.
It’s a fine distinction, but I think it matters. Opportunity—freedom of movement, thought, speech—is only meaningful when taken. We honor the gifts given us when we use them, make the most of them and (maybe) direct them toward the service of some greater purpose.
That’s why I’m here—writing this blog, working for elephant journal, seeking to learn and share what I learn every day—and I hope being where I am, doing what I’m doing with gratitude and purpose, I might inspire someone else to do the same.
Yes, that’s the thing.
Oh, and when you’re ready to take advantage of that freedom of movement you’ve been blessed with, drop me a line—I’d be happy to make some suggestions.