Practicing Gratitude

I was in Memphis this weekend at a soccer tournament for my oldest son. This morning, as we were about to head out to the fields, I discovered that my rear passenger tire was flat. I pump some air back into it to see if I could determine what was wrong and discovered that it had a nail in it.

At about that time, a gentleman who had been working a Bobcat by himself at a construction site adjacent to the hotel parking lot called out to me and volunteered that he had a tire plug kit. Without me asking him, he came over, got out his kit, and plugged my tire. He told me that his name was Mark and we engaged in some light conversation. When I asked him if there was any way that I could repay him he just said that he would hope that people would treat him the same way.

I drove my car by the local Firestone tire shop and the guys there took a look at the plug to make sure that it was safe and added air to my tires even though they were booked through the next morning. The gentleman who was adding air to my tires and checking the plug, Roy, mentioned that he had just been in my hometown that morning and we had a nice conversation.

Aside from illustrating the goodness in people, these incidents led me to think about the practice of gratitude. Many times we get so caught up in our lives and we focus only on the negative. We don’t take time to think about all the good things that happen to us. For this reason, it is a wonderful idea to take time every day to be thankful for the blessings that each of us have been given. This practice finds a home in religions such as Christianity and Buddhism, as well as in the secular world, with well known figures like Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins.

While you can certainly reflect on your blessings anytime of the day, I like to take a little quiet time each morning and incorporate gratitude into my meditation practice. I’ll start by using the practice of box breathing as described by former Navy SEAL, Mark Divine in his book, The Way of the Seal. I’ll inhale slowly to the count of five hold my breath for the count of five exhale to the count of five and then hold my lungs empty to the count of five. I’ll repeat this process about five times at the beginning of my meditation. After this, I will think about three to five things or people for which I am thankful.

Another good way to practice gratitude is in conjunction with a morning or evening journaling process. When you are sitting down with your Journal, simply take some time to list things that you were thankful for. This can be a great way to begin or in the day.

In finishing, I can say that I am grateful for Mark and Roy and all of the wonderful people that helped make today a great day. Be grateful.

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