Be cynical if you want. Be jaded and sneery and think the world is a razor blade of anger and pain, just waiting to slash you across the heart. This is your choice.
But the fact is, a thousand things go right for you every day. From the moment you wake up, the universe aligns in countless miraculous ways to make your life happen fluidly, effortlessly, incredibly. Your heart is working, your systems function, you do not instantly collapse, lose a limb or spontaneously combust. Amazing.
The car starts. The elevator works. Your legs transport you rather beautifully, hither and yon. The coffee is hot. The food placed before you is all kinds of stunning in how it connects you to the world. There’s sunlight. Your eyes receive that light and create everything in existence. Also, trees! Nice.
It’s a simple concept, one we hear all the time: give thanks. Be grateful. But it’s surprisingly hard to remember to do: we wolf our food without thinking about it, we complain and mutter in traffic, we forget how much of a simple miracle it is that we’re here – let alone healthy, let alone housed, fed, able to get from here to there, possessing of friends and loved ones, or whatever our particular blessings are. And sure, it sounds corny, but there’s probably a reason, as Morford says, that it appears in every religious text and poetic expression from time immemorial. “Hell,” Morford adds, “it’s probably drawn on a cave wall somewhere: You gotta give thanks. Not just for the big things, but for everything. All the time. Like breath. Like mantra. Like, duh.”
The most profound lesson, though, may be his next-to-last paragraph, about the times we are even more likely to forget to practice gratitude:
The things that suck and cause pain and give massive emotional challenge? They are worthy of thanks, too. Sometimes even more so. They are just another form of the divine. They are offering profound lessons, showing us where we need to grow and evolve. Thank you, we say, through gritted teeth. Thank you thank you thank you. F–k.
Thank you thank you thank you f–k. That may be my new mantra.
Try it for a bit, as Morford suggests. Make it a practice for a week, or a month: give thanks for every little thing, and see how it changes how you move in the world. (Make a move, change a thought. There it is again.)