“Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach

This year, I decided to practice the virtue of gratitude for my new years resolution. I was inspired by  Sarah Breathnach’s quote and the idea that in every moment, we are faced with two realities: abundance and lack. Each day I have the opportunity to choose, and then focus my energy in the direction of either my thankfulness or my frustrations.

Over the past couple of months, I have realized that practicing gratitude can sometimes be difficult. On a day when nothing seems to be going right–(I’m running late, traffic is a parking lot, the line at the grocery store won’t move)–those are the times when I switch impulsively into crummy mood mode. I feel impatient, frustrated, and on edge.

And then I remember: practice gratitude.

I take a deep breath, pause, and begin to list the gifts in my life: My loving husband, two beautiful kids, dear friends, a warm place to sleep, chocolate, my health, etc.

Almost in an instant, my mood starts to lift. So many reasons to be thankful are all around! I begin to realize that the grocery store line is not nearly as urgent as it felt only moments earlier. I continue my wait gently. I count all of the beautiful things that I already have. And then, the line seems to move a little faster.

As I leave the store, new moments come along, some joyful, some frustrating. Then, I remind myself… gently… to practice again.

Contributed by:

Jennifer Christian, M.A., LPC

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