grateful, self, appreciation, reflection, life, love, happiness

My Grateful List

Marcus Aurelius is said to have penned the following…

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—To breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

I prominently affixed this quote to a bathroom mirror at the place I moved to after launching myself into a new life a few years back.

It was a difficult time. My life had turned upside down, and I needed a constant reminder to focus on things I was grateful for, even if it meant that all I had to be thankful for was the air I breathed.

Now, as I write this, it sounds a little corny in a way, for I would wake up and read that quote, look myself in the mirror, and tell myself, “I love you, Christian.”

Then I would come up with 10 things that morning I was grateful for.

The fog was thick in my soul then and the only direction I had at the time was to let the dust settle from major life events and fully embrace the changes taking place.

Practicing Gratefulness helped me through some of those dark days.

Today, I have that quote affixed to my computer’s desktop so that I see it every time I open the lid. It serves as a great reminder to practice gratefulness every day even if things aren’t going how I want, or expect them to.

I figured I’d share that quote with you today in case you’re looking for a source of inspiration to help you through some difficult times.

I also want to share my grateful list. A list of 10 things I’m grateful for as part of my daily practice to stay focused on that which is upbeat, positive, and help rewire my brain and emotions to see the good in life instead of always seeing the negative that invariably drags me into despair.

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My list this morning…

  1. Venus. Huh? Yes, the second planet from our sun. As I write this, it’s cloudy but Venus is the brightest star in the heavens right now, and it’s the only thing that is piercing the cloud cover. It’s beautiful. It’s the perfect picture of hope—a shimmering point of light in a vast sea of darkness.
  2. The Moon. It’s full this early morning hour. It has a beauty all to its own as it reflects the sun through the clouds to an area beyond the window I’m sitting.
  3. Woke at 3:30 a.m. without an alarm. I know you wouldn’t think that’s something to be grateful for but to have my internal clock to get me up each day about this time so I can write and publish these articles over the past few weeks is pretty great. It means I don’t need to hear the alarm (I don’t like waking to alarms) and that I’m not rushed for time getting ready for my part-time gig later on.
  4. Just yawned and stretched. Felt good to get some blood moving through the joints.
  5. My breathing is not labored. I grew up with lung issues; asthma, bouts of pneumonia more times I care to relate, and this morning? <deep breath> I can breathe!
  6. #5 reminds me of my overall health. Never take your health for granted. Cherish it. Protect it. Nourish it.
  7. Running. In a few hours, my girlfriend and I are going to run the Turkey Trot; a local road race of 1 to 4 miles. Pick the distance. Proceeds go to the local run club and from there to several charities. It’s a good cause, it’s fun, it’s in support of #6 above.
  8. Early morning blueberry snack I just woofed down. Delish!
  9. Soft socks and soft flannel jammies. Sounds a bit foofoo-ish for a guy but I recall many times when life isn’t soft. I appreciate a few niceties in life.
  10. My girlfriend. I appreciate being intimately connected to another human being.

Some of the items above are big and weighty, some not so much, and some might be a bit silly for some out there reading this.

That’s okay.

Some days the list is filled with some pretty simple things that I walk over or under that are easy to take for granted.

I don’t want to take one moment for granted.

Posted by Christian Martin Jr.