This week I really struggled to come up with a topic for this article, that being said if anyone has something about me they want to know or maybe just any topic/discussion you'd find interesting to see from my point of view I would love any and all suggestions! Eventually, I came to the conclusion of what I wanted, almost needed to write this week as a way of realigning and focusing on the road ahead and the present moment. This article is about one of the greatest habits I have started and definitely recommend, expressing everyday gratitude. Too often it seems that the world is not measuring up to our expectations or that things are not going in our favor.
I challenge you to take 5 minutes in the morning, or night, to write down at least three things you are honestly grateful for! It might seem silly but just try it! That being said, here are the top three things I have found in my life that remind me to be appreciative and grateful every step of the day;
The Support and Strength of My Family
The past few weeks my grandfather has lost three brothers due to old age, sickness and an unnecessary and tragic car accident, to cheer him up my father and I baked him his favorite pie, strawberry rhubarb, and met them for breakfast. Visibly you could see the silent sadness behind his eyes. Even though he seems fine, my grandmother told us, there is something under all this but he won't talk about it. Now in their nineties, seeing friends and family pass away is something they have become strangely familiar with but regardless the press on and take every day as a blessing. This week I also moved back home with my parents. Seeing all my boxes packed and belongings stuffed into an SUV was a humbling experience and the efforts that my mother and father went through to make me feel at home once again made me realize just how much my family does for me.I am grateful to have my grandparents still kicking it and exemplifying what it means to live down to earth and find peace with the idea that everyone has an end. I am terribly grateful for my family, for their love, and for the support they have always lent me in any task I've needed help with.
I have definitely mentioned this in previous articles but I am truly grateful for my work environment. It is so amazing to be able to meet so many different people from all over the US and all other the globe! I think one of the most important aspects of deepening your understanding and compassion is allowing yourself to truly view the world from different perspectives, imagine living in the vastly different ways and realize that no path in life is without its pro's and cons. Everyone who walks in the door at our cafe is merely trying the get by with what life has handed them. Some come in and are rude, leave unnecessary messes, and try to steal. I keep this from happening but beyond this, those people do not need my anger, I do not need to waste energy on negative thoughts. Their life is not for me to judge. An awesome Buddhist quote; "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger." The vast majority come in and are polite, talk briefly with me and allow me to get a glimpse of what living in their shoes is like. I am grateful for these opportunities help me widen my views and contemplate these ideas. I am grateful to have a job at all, let alone one with benefits and decent hours. I have found that if you take your job as an opportunity to make the most of what the present moment has given you, you might very well see your job experience change right before your eyes!
My City, my home, Jacksonville
A lot of people who come here from out of town or even out of state seem to underestimate this city. Granted, maybe it isn't as bustling and full of energy as some larger US cities or as hip and trendy as others, but I am grateful for this place I call home because just like everything else, it is what you make it. Jacksonville has a lot of great things to offer. I am grateful for the Riverside area where you can indulge in the hipster world, browse antique stores and grassroots, have vegan bakery items, enjoy a fancy drip coffee, watch an indie film and end the night at a live music bar. I am grateful for San Marco area where you can wander the picturesque neighborhoods of old school homes, take in the sun at all the parks and walk along the St Johns river. And I am grateful for all the shopping areas when I can actually spend money, like the Town Center, Tinseltown, The Avenues. I am grateful for Chamblin's Bookmine and the small cafe it has with amazing food and the Thrift store where you can buy $1 clothing. And who can overlook that we have beaches and state parks within an hours drive! Jacksonville is a great, at least fairly decent, place to grow and live and even when I move I will remember the great spots of my hometown!