Hello SOTGC community,
Today is a typical Canadian January morning; somehow these crisp winter mornings present a certain stillness that allows the mind to wander and contemplate. As the snowflakes gracefully fall outside and crisp early mornings are met with aromas of hot chocolate and apple pies, all wrapped up in cozy sweaters and chunky scarves, I find myself thinking about the elements in my life that I am most thankful for.
As my mind and heart are warmed by thoughts of the loved ones in my life, family and friends, who I feel infinitesimally blessed and thankful for, I am also very much cognizant of how grateful I am for my health, for the safe and free world in which I live, and for the fact that I have the opportunity to pursue an education and future career in a field that I am beyond passionate about, medicine. Yet, at the same time, as I think about all that I am thankful for, I realize that a great part of my everyday happiness stems from being thankful for the small things that bring a smile to my face and bring me joy on a daily basis; this appreciation for the small things in life has come to be termed conscious gratitude by many, a term that I find quite fitting myself.
When I think of conscious gratitude I think of the ability to be mindful and live in the present moment as to acknowledge thankfulness for the small things that surround us, happen to us and cross our paths on a daily basis and culminate to create a sense of happiness and well-being. From the warm rays of the sun, to the smell of morning coffee, to the stranger who holds the door open for you as you run for the bus…conscious gratitude is about taking the time to be thankful for the things that we sometimes take for granted and subconsciously allow to slip through our fingers against the hectic background of school, work and other commitments.
Conscious gratitude can undeniably serve as a tool to achieve balance in life, allowing for a sense of well-being, mindfulness and contentment.
During the fall, quite fittingly around the time of Canadian Thanksgiving, as I was completing one of the harder and more demanding clinical rotations of my education, I remember needing to take an afternoon off. After quite a hectic week of clinical and teaching shifts at the hospital I took the time to practice a bit of conscious gratitude myself, as I enjoyed the afternoon with my family at an urban farmer’s market followed by a walk through a downtown park. Slowly, I let go of thoughts related to my work and became mindful of the environment in which I found myself…I became aware of the joy with which farmers were displaying plump pumpkins on their produce stands…I became aware of how beautiful the trees looked with the diverse array of red, orange and yellow leaves that flourished on their branches…I became aware of the touching lyrics that were being sung by the musician that was playing by the bus station entrance at the corner of the road. I was not only becoming aware of all of this around me but also feeling thankful that I was able to experience each and every moment of it. I was making an effort to practise conscious gratitude and as a result I was able to find balance in the aspect of mindfulness that came along with such a practice.
My dearest SOTGC readers, allow conscious gratitude into your lives; sometimes it’s the small and simple moments and experiences that we take part in on a daily basis that bring us the greatest happiness.
Have a beautiful day!