I was sitting in the dentist’s chair yesterday while my doctor was working on my teeth when suddenly, a sense of gratitude suffused my entire being. I usually do breathing exercises to avoid thinking of or feeling the discomfort, but not yesterday! There was the dentist, who had to do all that work to keep my teeth healthy and beautiful. And I felt grateful for him. And to his assistant. And to the people at the front desk who had made my booking. And then, I moved on to feeling gratitude for many other things I had in my life. I was grateful for having the extra time to spend with my family in the past year. For a student who made my class very difficult and yet showed me how much difference I made for him.
I was also grateful for the crisis in higher education that finally precipitated the long-overdue changes in academia; for last-year’s fire that cleared up our lives of outgrown debris and made room for the new to come. Hours and hours after the initial wave of gratitude, I continued to feel the ripples of it through my being. It wasn’t that I had discovered something new. It was like I was walking in a bubble of gratitude and wherever I looked, all I could see were yet more things to be grateful for.
So, what if the world might appear disturbing? If we waited for things to right themselves before being grateful, we’d never get to it. The world will continue to be what it is, but we certainly have the power to decide how to feel about it. We determine whether to be in a grateful mindset or in a hypercritical one. What is there to stop us? And even better – what is there to lose from a more grateful state of mind?
In the Hindu Pantheon, Lakshmi is the Goddess of Wealth. They say she likes gratitude and loves to bestow even more gifts to those grateful for what they already have. So, there you go. Not only do we have nothing to lose from a more grateful mindset, but we might gain in the process. Why not find out how much?