practicing gratitude // beauty in every day moments

These last few days I've felt a little funky - like I can't quite put my finger on what's bothering me, but something is weighing me down. In my heart I knew I needed to spend some time reflecting and make those small, but powerful changes we so often need, like sleeping more, making time for a yoga and doing quiet time. 

After talking with a few friends this weekend, I noticed many of them were in the same boat. The truth is: this winter has been long and I think it's starting to weigh on people. Too much time inside, not enough Vitamin D. Too much stillness. Too much ice. 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my mom, sisters and I are doing Brene Brown's e-course (which, by the way, I highly recommend doing - it's amazing) and last night I decided to get caught up on it - hoping it would make me a little more reflective.

Brene never let's me down! 

The lesson was on practicing gratitude, which was exactly what I needed to hear. She talked about how it's OK to complain, of course. We want to be real and honest. But we also need to do it with perspective and the only way to get authentic perspective on our own lives is to practice gratitude regularly - especially during times when we really don't want to do it. 

She also said that she's learned that people who experience the most grief in life say they yearn for the normal again. While they miss big, exciting moments in life, they really miss the mundane, every day things they took for granted in what they have lost. 

Isn't it funny, though, that we so often view that normal as boring? We yearn for excitement - a new job, a new boyfriend, a new house, a new city, a new friend...

But in actuality, sometimes the most beautiful times are the every day moments. 

As part of the exercise in the course, she encouraged us to look for ordinary moments for which we're grateful.  I walked around my house last night with my phone and took a few.

1. Having my bike back. Cleaned, fixed and ready to ride. It reminds me that spring is near. 

2. The flowers Melissa bought this weekend. My mom always has fresh flowers and they make me think of her. Also, they breathe life into our house and, like my bike, remind us that spring is near.

3. My [current] favorite mug. It makes me think of weekends, when I fill it with coffee&cream and do the slow sip. 

4. My bags all packed for this coming weekend. Heading to the mountains and cannot wait to breathe in that fresh, unpolluted air and see beautiful stars. 

5. My newly reorganized closet. I don't care what they say, cleanliness can buy happiness. 

6. My new camera, which will surely be in tow in the mountains this weekend. Although I don't yet have any sort of photography skills, it reminds me that the dream is within reach :) 

7. My bed. Clean, bleached sheets. Calling my name.

It's amazing that I started the lesson feeling down and by the end of this exercise I could have found about 10 more things to snap. Gratitude yields joy, and not the other way around.

What are you ordinary moments of gratitude today?