Cultivating Gratitude

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

by Christina Jean-Louis

As the leaves change to a magical blend of reds, oranges and yellows and the summer’s warmth starts to dissipate, I am gently reminded that change is the only constant. To change is to modify, alter or shift in nature. Change is intricately interwoven into the fabric of our lives. As I take a second to recall the happenings of my day,  from my morning jog to the ever-surprising commute to work, conversations and a slew of emails every second is always different.

I have realized it is in my nature look for patterns, form habits, and instill rituals which help me create a semblance of “normal” in my everyday. And while there are hundreds, maybe thousands of habits I’ve developed throughout the course of my life, only a few have stood the test of time.

Gratitude, the state of being thankful continues to breed life, contentment, abundance, fulfillment, and joy.  And just as the psalmist reminds us over and over in Psalm 136: God’s enduring love is forever present in our everyday lives. We must continue to give thanks to our God of Heaven, for his love endures forever. (verse 26)

What are you thankful for today?

Today is a gift, the only appropriate response is gratefulness. Take a look around you.  Inhale deeply.  Recall the faces of the people you met today? Each has an incredible story. You might be accessing this very note through a smart mobile device. How cool is that? Our Creator knows no bounds.

As we fall into this new season of autumn  I invite you to join me in this practice of cultivating gratitude.   Throughout the month of November let’s challenge ourselves to form a new habit of gratitude. Experts say that it takes about 21 days to form a new habit. So maybe let's commit the next 21 days to try this #gratitudechallenge  out.

Let the games begin:

  1. Open a notebook, grab a post-it, post a comment, snap - whatever you prefer. Let’s get creative.

  2. List at least three to five things you’re grateful for. As this seeps into the forefront of your consciousness give yourself a moment to savor each thing. And this can be whatever you choose -- nothing is too small. For example, 1. the beauty of the sunset tonight,  2. the ability to move through the city with ease. 3. This Is Us.

  3. Tomorrow, do it again. Challenge yourself to list something new. It could be a slight variation from something shared previously just be sure to emphasize how this is different —this is how we will learn to flex your gratitude muscles.

  4. If you can, review your list from the previous day, week etc.

  5. And do this again for 20 more days.