Impermanence and gratitude go hand in hand, don’t you think? After all, if we focus on the impermanence in our lives (our own, and loved ones and the surroundings we live in provide ample examples) we can often find very many things to be grateful for. As I’ve written about before, even taking a simple breath in and releasing it can seem like a miracle when one has experienced breathing difficulties. And yet it is so infrequently that I pause and consider ‘will this breath be my last?’
It may sound overly simplistic but we are able to take a long-range overview of our lives, maybe some kind of inventory, and begin to try and map out or count up the innumerable blessings with which we’ve been graced, it would be a hard person indeed who would fail to find even an ounce of gratitude in their hearts. From that kernel of gratitude can spring forth a change of attitude; perhaps a simple smile to one of our neighbours – perhaps the only one they will have that day – and we can never be sure what effect it will have on them. Perhaps they will pay it forward, or feel they too have people who care for them on an otherwise lonely day. Actually it doesn’t matter what impact it has, or whether we will ever know of it, but what is more important is to be aware of our attitude in deciding to smile (nb these days I’m a ‘natural’ smiler, so usually don’t even think about it!). A true smile speaks volumes, whereas a fake one never reaches the eyes … and people can tell the difference!
But this is a continuous practice.
I smiled when I re-read last week’s blog entry as I had gone about things this week not only carrying on some resentment from the past, but adding to the mix a lot of frustration at an administrative issue over which I have no control. One which will only affect my life in 3 months time! Yet, my face had hardened, my energy levels dropped, and I felt riled. It took a friend to point out what I was doing to myself in holding all of this in my mind, and following some lovely Reiki my face softened, I felt relaxed and just let the future ‘stuff’ go. It is outside my control, but that is ok. At least in this moment!
I can only ‘be’ and ‘do’ here now. The future is none of my business, despite the fact I define myself in relation to it. When I move with ease through life, dealing with what is in front of me, life gets easier, more gets done in less time and with less effort; and crucially, it all becomes more joyful. So, be grateful for today, this hour, minute, second, breath – we have the whole world in a single breath, a single heartbeat, but yet we have nothing if we cannot appreciate that fact.