As I develop my ongoing practice of gratitude, I experience richness throughout the day. Whether it's for my ability to see, hear, walk and talk, or for the natural beauty of the sun, trees, flowers or for my loving husband and three children, or for the comforts and convenience of modern living such as running water, air-conditioning, a car, an iphone, Showtime series on Netflix, (the list is endless), I feel incredibly blessed with the abundance that surrounds me in every moment. It is precisely this awareness of how much I have and how much is available to me that I am most grateful for.
Without awareness, I would be like most animals going through life, eating, playing, mating, sleeping. Although that sounds like a wondrously simple life, I am thankful that I can consciously choose how to spend my day. As humans, we have this special gift of awareness of what we are doing, thinking, feeling. I can decide to grab cheap fast food on the way home from work or head to the grocery store to pick up organic vegetables and cook a healthy dinner. Two very different options that lead to very different outcomes. One isn't necessarily right or wrong. It depends on what I want and I get to choose what I want.
If my goal is to lose weight, I would make a different choice versus if my goal was to save time and money. The point is, I can clarify what I want, develop a plan of action and take steps towards my desired goal. And I can be grateful every step of the way because I am aware of the fact that I am moving in the direction that I intended.
The gift of awareness allows me to be present to what I am feeling. If I'm not happy about something, I have a choice to do something about it. If I'm feeling frustrated in my job, I can take action to talk to manager, to explore other opportunities or simply change my attitude. When I am aware that I am stressed about not accomplishing more, I know I can breathe, quiet my mind, and change my thought patterns. I can tell myself, "I am doing enough. I am enough right now." Saying these simple words of affirmation calms my mind and I immediately feel better. I had to become aware of my unhealthy patterns before I could change them.
I am incredibly grateful that I have this power of awareness. I am aware of the fact that my thoughts create my reality. Knowing this, I can catch myself whenever my mind spirals and thinks a million thoughts, most of which is pure garbage, but garbage that I have been listening to for a long time. With awareness, I can let the garbage go by replacing my mental script. I can change my mindset and I can improve my outlook on life.
Instead of thinking about the money that I don't have, the people that don't love me, the activities that I haven't done yet, I can choose to appreciate all that I do have and all the things I have done. I can be choose to be grateful in the present moment instead of regretting the past and worrying about the future. I can be conscious of the abundance that surrounds me now. This awareness is what I am most grateful for.
This blog post is part of a series for HuffPost Gratitude, entitled 'The One Thing I'm Most Thankful For.' To see all the other posts in the series, click here To contribute, submit your 500 - 800 word blogpost to firstname.lastname@example.org.