If you eat less or eat better, you will lose weight. If you floss every day you will have better teeth. If you regularly fertilize your lawn you will have healthy grass. If you spend less than you make you will have better finances. If you practice gratitude you will be more content and happy. I believe that we all know and believe these things to be true, and yet we don’t do them. It’s a curious thing. If we know that the outcome of an action will be to our benefit, why would we put it off? We are all guilty of it. Call it laziness, call it ignorance, call it avoidance, call it what you want but it doesn’t change fact that we are complicit in our lack of well-being. Part of my personal revolution is to no longer avoid these things. And one of the most powerful practices to a content life and state of being, for me, is gratitude.
I spent some time in Bolivia teaching. I noticed something there. None of the native Bolivians I met had nice houses or nice things. Usually they had a small house in which several generations of family lived. They worked all day. Well, they were busy all day anyway. And yet, every house I went to welcomed me with smiles, drink, and a meal. And every single time, the night would end in singing and dancing. I love our country and I love the liberty we have but one thing we’ve lost in our culture of capitalism is the ability to be grateful for the things that truly matter. Family, shelter, and community. Every morning when I wake up, I look at my wrist and see a bracelet that I bought my first day there and remember to be grateful. Be grateful that I’ve got a family that loves me. That My wife and girls are healthy. That I’ve got a roof over my head, double paned windows, working cars, clothes to wear. Take away the job, the money, the “stuff” and I can still breathe, walk, think, enjoy, and love. I love the Stoics because they often practiced the art of reduction. Living like a pauper for periods of time so they never lost sight of what truly matters and what is truly important. I love my wife and kids. I love that I have working limbs. I love that I can read and write and live in the USA. Practice the art of waking up and before you do anything else, take a deep breath and practice gratitude for all the “little” things that truly matter.