Here are three things I've been doing to help my grow in gratitude at the start of this holiday season. They've been helping me. Maybe they'll help you.
1) Look back
Reflect back on the last day, week, month, year, lifetime. Where have you experienced goodness, beauty, kindness, generosity, growth, life, love, joy? Pay attention to those little pinpricks of light. They try to bury themselves in the sands of time. Digging them up requires discipline. But if you can do it, you'll grow in gratitude.
2) Look around
Life generously offers you opportunities to stretch your gratitude muscles. But you have to pay attention. You have to lean in. Keep a list. Share on Facebook. Whatever. The hardest part is to slow down enough to pay attention.
Imagine walking through your neighborhood for the first time. You could drive through a neighborhood a million times and still be surprised, delighted the first time you walk. A slower pace allows for more attention. More attention flooded into a soul that desires to be grateful will produce more gratitude. If that's what you want.
3) Look forward
Search the horizon. Strain your eyes. Dawn is coming. Call it what you will: eschatological hope, optimism, faith. This is a difficult source to mine for gratitude. The future seems so uncertain. We can't predict it or control it. And we know it will contain plenty of pain running alongside its scarce beauty. But the difficulty and scarcity only add to its value. That makes gratitude drawn out of the future precious and worth seeking, if you can find it.
What are you doing to grow in gratitude?