The Practice of Gratitude and Presence: More Help for These Times

In this fourth pre-election message I recommend two powerful practices to help you manage feelings of stress, worry and anxiety:

  • Stay present and grounded in this ‘now’ moment.
  • Practice on-going moment to moment gratitude repeating a mantra of ‘thank you’ recalling all that you are grateful for.    

To emphasize the power of these two practices, the following experience was shared by my friend, a hospice chaplain: Phillip made weekly visits to a woman in her late 30s, terminally ill from advanced MS, a fatal progressive neurodegenerative disease. Though bed-ridden and completely dependent on others, he described her as serene, at peace and fully accepting of her end-stage condition. Even with her deteriorating condition her attitude of acceptance and peace remained unchanged.  When asked how she was able to maintain such a remarkable attitude she said that it was gratitude; she was grateful for everything.  It was gratitude that she experienced every present moment; gratitude for those who cared for her, fed her, bathed her, spent time with her and met her needs.  She was grateful for everything including her life even to the time when she could communicate only by blinking her eyes.  As remarkable as it is, this practice is transformative when we remain present in the ‘here and now’ and place our attention on what we are grateful for.

Regardless of the direction this election takes; remember that while we may not choose the circumstances, we do have choice about how we deal with what is ahead. My hope is that you choose to take the high road; stay present and be grateful regardless of life swirling around you.    

“There are only two ways to live your life—One is to live as though nothing is a miracle and the other is to live as though everything is a miracle”. – Albert Einstein

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