Presence From Gratitude

During a conversation with a friend, I connected two important ideas. Maybe you’ve already made this connection, but it was new to me, at least the way it came together during the conversation.

We were talking about her recent struggle to be “in the present “. She acknowledged there were a few people in her life who were incredibly present and brought out the best in her, and that somehow allowed her to be present, too. And then she told a story of how hanging around the pool with other vacationers on a recent vacation she had a great time and felt very present and happy.

As we talked it seemed evident that she didn’t have what it took to feel present without inspiration from others. That disturbed her because she didn’t want to have to rely on others for her situation in life. She just didn’t know what to do about it.

Something she said had me ask her about her gratitude practice. That too was coming in fits and starts lately. So I asked her when the last time was that she felt gratitude. It was during that afternoon at the pool. The same event where she felt so present.

That got me to thinking of how being present and being grateful often coincide. Maybe they depend on each other.

You have to be aware of things in your life before you can be grateful. And that awareness is presence. Without being present, you float through life not seeing all the wonderfulness there is. You miss the goodness of people. You miss the wonders of the skies. You miss the lessons in life, too. Life becomes a shell of existence.

To have a full life, then, it takes presence. I think it takes gratitude to cement life’s experiences to your existence.

Here’s where my mind got tangled up: presence is required before gratitude can happen, and gratitude demands presence to stay in your mind.

So, what if you aren’t feeling inspired to be grateful? Sometimes that’s a conscious choice to experience gratitude, to seek it out. And once you do, it can become a self-feeding mechanism of gratitude to presence to gratitude. And so it goes.

Here’s one more tangle in our web of thought. We further connected presence with engagement, which also benefits from gratitude. That feeling of engagement requires presence and feeds off of gratitude.

To be your best and give the world your best, you have to start with gratitude.

Do this every morning for a week to see how it impacts you. As your eyes open in the morning, greet the world with enthusiasm. Then find three other things to be grateful for as you put your feet on the floor. Note how present you feel as you start your day. If the first week goes well, I offer the challenge to start each day with this gratitude practice to enjoy a more present and satisfying life.

After this conversation, my friend recommitted to her daily gratitude practice. She told me several weeks later that her feeling of engagement and being present were getting stronger. It was a satisfying feeling.

Get engaged in your life. Be grateful. Be present.

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