OK here is the $64,000 dollar question. What should you and I choose to do? Be mindful of what we have and be grateful most of the time, reaping the benefits from that attitude along the way or whine and complain and be ungrateful and end up unhappy and miserable?
Ok, I know that’s not to tough a question but isn’t it funny that regardless of the answer, we so often fall into an ungrateful mode in our daily life? So what do we do about that?
Well, maybe we just need to practice it more often, be mindful of our attitude and stop the complaining when we realize what we are doing. Let’s just go out and do it, maybe 3 or 4 times a day, and see the difference it makes in our lives and the people around us. But we just can’t think about it. We need to take action, make it important in our lives. Start now. Write or call someone or post to your favorite social network site–just put something out there, saying that you are grateful and want never to forget it. And start reaping the benefits.
Thinking more on the issue of gratitude and looking at my own experience I couldn’t help but think about two incidences that I observed while traveling recently. One of these times we were waiting for our bags at baggage claim for maybe 10 minutes, when a guy standing next to me started complaining aloud about having to wait. He went on for a while before he finally blurted out “Delta always does this to me!” I thought to myself, does this guy actually thinks Delta is picking on him? Only a minute later the bags came down the chute but instead of being grateful he grabbed his bags in a huff and stomped out of the terminal. I was certain his blood pressure was pushed to some upper limit by then. And all over a couple minutes of waiting.
The other time was in the very well-appointed Delta Crown room in the Los Angeles airport. A young woman was loudly complaining to someone on her cell phone about her flight being canceled the night before. It seems the airline put her up in a Marriott Hotel, complete free with meals, at their expense. But instead of being grateful that the airline did everything they could to make her comfortable during an unavoidable delay she acted as if the event was destroying her life! And all I could think of was how she’d do at an airport in Libya which was dealing with a severe uprising that week.
Both these people had lost complete perspective on the situation they were in. It used to take days or weeks to travel from one major city to another in the US. In other parts of the world, it still does. And you don’t always get your bags back or have a flight available at all. We should be immensely grateful when things work expediently and ideally. We should be grateful we can travel rapidly and in great comfort. We should also be grateful, when we do have to wait, that we are given that opportunity to stop and appreciate all we see around us, and all that we have. Even the moments we have to stand still are something to be grateful for, if only we would stop and realize it.
As I look out at the world, especially in the incredible times we live in right now with all the turmoil, uprising, pointless deaths, instability and chaos in so many places in the world, and then look outside my door, it’s hard not to be a little shocked by how different my life is here in an affluent, developed country. Even some of the arguably most powerful men in the world do not live as well as many of us do here. Look at Bin Laden, found living in relative squalor until his demise.
When I see these things I am struck big time with the thought that, wow, we really do have it good, those of us living in the USA, Canada, Europe, etc. But how often, and seriously, do we consider how blessed we are?
I don’t know about you, but I am so very, very grateful for my life in a free country. My gratitude, however, goes way beyond the free country thing. I have to tell you, when i take time to be grateful (and i really need to do it more often), that very process and feeling of gratitude boosts my satisfaction, contentment, and happiness levels! It’s almost like magic.
So I’m thinking, this month, let’s start a habit of gratitude, hitting that button 2 or 3 times a day. Appreciating what we have will be good for our spirits, our attitude, our family, our outlook on life, and, by extension the world out there that is working through the chaos and pressure of broad and often, unstoppable, change. It’s the least we can do for them, and ourselves.
Emotions ran high all over the country after the news of Bin Laden’s death. Words and sentiments were streaming across the net, reflecting the mixed emotions of joy, sadness, relief, and, most profoundly, the struggle we face, coming to terms with the violence of the act so many of us wanted to cheer and be thankful for. So many decisions we make come with consequences we find difficult to accept as our doing but we do need to take action so as to not miss out on opportunities or, in this case, help protect ourselves.
Our leaders faced an enormously difficult decision–securing our country but also actively seeking to end a life and potentially lose other lives in the process. You can see just how torturous this decision was for our president, a man who visited another victim of violence, Representative Gifford, before making the decision to order another form of violence. The decision was not made lightly or rashly. But it was made.
A great number of quotes are being repeated across the net as people look for ways to express their feelings about this event. Unfortunately, a number of them are incorrect, a quote attributable to Martin Luther King, Jr. being one of the most persistent. But here is one I haven’t seen that is attributable to that great and courageous man, and is one idea that I think we all would benefit from contemplating for a moment today:
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy–Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love, 1963