Pause And Give Thanks.


Here’s a simple exercise that can really help centre you and create within you an attitude of thankfulness for every day things.

It’s so simple anyone can do it.

It doesn’t need to be learned and requires no special skills. But you do need to do it often if you want it to become a habit and thereby maximise the value of its outcomes.

And these outcomes can range from simply being more present and mindful to actually enlarging your capacity to enjoy life.

Okay, what is this simple exercise? Some kind of miracle working cure-all?

When I tell you you may very well doubt how effective it can be because it appears to be so trivial. Yet try it for yourself and I think you’ll be surprised – and pleased – with the results.

I’ll describe it in 19 words: pause in the act of doing something ‘ordinary’ and give thanks for the fact that you can do it.

Yes, that’s it.

It’s not necessarily a prayer, though it can be if you wish. I certainly use it that way most times.

It’s really about not taking for granted something you have or can do now that you may not always have or be able to do. (And wow! Isn’t that last sentence a mouthful?)

Now I don’t want to sound like some paragon of virtue or come across as being ultra pious. It’s just that over time I’ve discovered that if I don’t make the effort to be thankful for being able to do the so called ordinary things, I can easily overlook how fortunate or blessed I am.

One day, they may no longer available to me so I want to enjoy and appreciate them now, while I can; to recognise what a current blessing they are.

Shifting focus away from what I can’t do or what I don’t have to what I can do or what I do have, seems to widen my sphere of contentment and add an extra depth to my life.

Let me give you an example, although it sounds so unbelievably mundane when it’s written down. When I reach up to the top shelf of a cupboard to take down the item I want, I’ll often pause for a moment just to say “thank you that I am well enough to reach this item easily”, or I will simply appreciate the fact that I can reach that high without using words. (And I’ve visited enough elderly and disabled friends to know they would love to be able to do such an easy-to-take-for-granted activity without pain or without asking for help.)

At other times I’ll offer a silent ‘thank you’ that I’m able to see my wife’s face or hug my daughters. Or go for a walk, open a door, make a cup of tea, walk to the shops unaided.

You get the idea, I’m sure.

As I say, it’s so easy to take for granted the ordinary, everyday things  … until they’re no longer there.

Be thankful for them while you can.



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