December 31, 2023: The Grace of Gratitude
The ending of a year and beginning of a new one is a time for reflection and setting intentions. Reflecting on the past, helps us to acknowledge what went well in our life and helps to plan new beginnings and possible changes. A powerful way to set a tone of positivity and clarify our direction is to express gratitude.
“The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
Researchers have studied the practice of gratitude and have discovered that participants in their studies had higher levels of happiness and positivity, leading to increased feelings of well-being. Expressing gratitude is a pathway for people to identify and appreciate the gifts in their life. In a society that constantly encourages us to buy more, gratitude teaches us to concentrate on what we have rather than what we lack. In the iconic Pollyanna movie, the “look on the sunny side” attitude of the main character seemed too good to be true. But the more we focus on and be grateful for the positives, the impact of anxiety, stress and worry can be lessened, leading to a greater sense of well-being.
In our current society, there is much to cause concern. But in our own individual lives, we can choose to look around, seeking those gifts whether they are tangible or intangible. I have discovered that when the worries of the world feel overwhelming, it helps to pause, take a deep breath (or more), focus on the present moment and reflect on what I am truly grateful for in my life. This leads to a sensation of quiet joy and peace of mind.
These gifts can be as complex as a safe home, food on our table, meaningful work and a supportive community of family and friends; to the appreciation of the beauty in nature and wonder of a bluebird in flight.
Choosing to focus on gratitude as a resolution for the coming year, will open our hearts and minds to the blessings in our lives. The practice of gratitude can be as individual as we are. Building awareness is the first step. What is in your life that brings you joy and a sense of happiness and satisfaction? We can mentally or verbally express our thankfulness, or meditate on it, or write our gifts down like Oprah Winfrey who keeps a daily gratitude journal. Whatever path you choose, the simple practice of recognizing the positives in our life can be transformational.
As we say goodbye to 2023 and welcome a brand new year, our wish for you is that the coming year brings lots of love, light and treasured moments to celebrate.,
Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to read our Weekly Wandering’s Blog. Here are some quotes we have found to be inspirational.
We welcome your thoughts and/or additional quotes that inspire you.
Happy New Year!
Best regards, Wendy Oellers-Fulmer & Ron Fulmer
QUOTES TO INSPIRE
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.”
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
“Gratitude bestows reverence…changing forever how we experience life and the world.”
I would mantain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder”
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”
“Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.”
“Thankfulness is the quickest path to Joy”