Last week I went for a run. It was my birthday and I wanted to have some time just for myself. And a birthday run at the beach was what I was longing for.
It was a truly gorgeous morning, not too hot, a light breeze and an empty wide beach at low tide. And instead of pushing myself, I just enjoyed the ride – or better – jog.
At the end, I set down and took a few minutes to simply enjoy that moment. And this feeling of deep gratitude washed over me.
- I mean, I do have the chance to be at a beautiful beach every single day if I like.
- I was grateful for listening to my body to come for that jog.
- I was grateful for my mind of playing along and to just be there and to simply enjoy.
Yet, in the back of my head something else struck my nerve. Because yes, I am utterly grateful for living in this country and the state of my mind. But you know, it didn’t “just” happen.
You see, when we talk about being grateful it’s about showing thanks or appreciation for something or somebody.
And by no means do I question that. It’s important to notice and appreciate what we have around us or what others did for us. And we all should take moments to reflect on that even more. To not take everything, everyone around us for granted. Too many don’t pay attention to the grateful moments (especially the small, ordinary seeming ones) around them!
But at the same time, we should as well have the right to acknowledge and share the path that led to a grateful moment. After all, it doesn’t always “just” happen.
Most of the people I met while living abroad have not been born with a golden spoon. They all went through a lot to get where they are. Emotionally, mentally, physically, financially… you name it. Each one of us carries some burden. Yet, I do believe most of us have heard the comments like this at one stage or the other:
“Oh you must be so grateful for living there, being able to do this and that, …” And yes I`m pretty sure we are, of course, we appreciate where we are. But nobody seems to question the path that we took to get there.
Because let’s be honest, some grateful moments only come with hard work, fear, anxiety, tears, sweat or even loss. Not being able to acknowledge that somehow diminishes the experience for me.
I liked this description I came across in the www.mindful.org page “Living your life with gratitude means choosing to focus your time and attention on what you appreciate. The goal is not to block out difficulties, but to approach those difficulties from a different perspective. Appreciation softens us. It soothes our turbulent minds by connecting us with the wonderfully ordinary things, great and small, that we might otherwise take for granted.”
Even as I sit and write this, my hand started to type “I was lucky enough to get here”. But no, you know what, it’s not just luck. It was a mix of boldness by my husband, a family decission to try something totally different, not shying away from a new challenge and a very open mind that took us to where we are just now. And of course awareness to acknowledge and pay attention to grateful moments.
And while the beach is my anchor it wasn’t always smooth sailing. It was hard to move from modern big city life to such a small place. It was hard to leave friends behind again. It was hard to make new friends and find our way. It was (is) hard to find the own footage for each family member.
Yes, it was hard and it isn’t always easy, but I’m grateful, yes, absolutely!
And I’m grateful to myself and my family that we took the step to move here and to all the other places we lived in. I’m grateful that we never shy away from the new challenges and struggles we faced throughout our journey. And yes right now I’m absolutely grateful to be living close to the beach.
So, I’m not sure if I’m just rambling and typing away some random thoughts that don’t make sense to anybody else?! But yes I think there are times when we should acknowledge that there are two sides when it comes to grateful moments.
Grateful moments they do not just happen, YOU make them happen.
They happen because you paid attention, took time to acknowledge them, and sometimes worked hard, overcame challenges and fear to even be able to experience them!
Now that I’m closing down – does this somehow connect with you or am I alone here? When was the last time you felt that deep gratefulness?
Find your ease – wherever you are