When I slow down and think of what gratitude means to me the first word that comes to mind is awareness. Slowing down from the craziness of our daily lives and tuning in to what or who is around us is not an easy chore. Our days are filled with tasks that need to be accomplished, phone calls or emails that need responding to, and continuous updates and current happenings on our devices, be it a text, on Facebook or Instagram. So rarely do we sit still in a current moment with quiet surrounding us and “tune in” to our life and our body. I have found that in those moments, a door is opened for awareness; and when awareness is present gratitude can enter.
I’ve been trying a new workout regiment over the past 2 months. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough and more than once I have felt like I could just give up my breakfast right there on the gym floor. Within this workout plan, I have 3 days a week where I am supposed to put in 35 minutes of cardio exercise. With the amazing summer and current fall in the PNW I have been able to do this almost entirely outside. Sometimes I run down the huge hill that goes down in to my town, then run/walk all the way back up. Sometimes I go with my husband to a hidden gem of a park in downtown Bellevue and run these old wooden stairs in the woods.
Sometimes I go down to the trail in our little town and run along the river. I listen to music, it motivates and inspires me to continue on when, let’s be honest, it would be so much easier to just STOP and lay flat on the concrete and take a nap. I have noticed, though, that I seem to be more aware of my environment as I move through my workouts. I’ve found myself running along and catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye that makes me stop and snap a picture. I may stop to catch my breath and find myself thankful for the trees overhead that provide shade while I’m running up and down the stairs.
On Saturday morning I was running down our hill and as I ran by the retention pond, which I’ve done many times, I noticed a heron just standing in the center. It was enough to stop me, cause me to take notice, and then continue.
Moments like this open me up for gratitude. I find gratitude for my body, that I am able to tackle that hill every week and notice the strength that I’m gaining. I am grateful for the beautiful part of the country that I live in with all of it’s amazing colors, parks and walkways. I am overwhelmed with appreciation for my children and my husband. I am grateful for that very single moment that does cause me pause and allows gratitude to enter. I tend to gravitate towards appreciation for what I do have rather than focus on the laundry that inevitably is waiting for me when I get home or the weeds that need pulling in the backyard.
Fall is here. It arrived on September 22nd. The days are shortening, the PNW fog is finding it’s way into our mornings, the leaves are beginning their metamorphosis and the grocery stores are now filled with all things “pumpkin spice.” I encourage you to open yourself up to the change in season, slow down just a bit, soak up your environment and pay attention to the thoughts of gratefulness that will inevitably enter your space.