Appreciation - understanding the meaning or quality or magnitude of something
Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
It's been a lazy, hazy summer's day here in Brookline. It is only May 2nd but the temperatures and humidity are on the rise. We also have a boil water order. There was a water main break which affected the water supply to hundreds of thousands of households. Times of crises either bring out the best or the worst in people. There were fist fights which broke out in stores which were not prepared with a supply of bottled water to meet the demand. There was talk on the news about this lasting for weeks - although my news station of choice. Channel 7 WHDH Boston talked about the best case scenario that this would be over by Tuesday. There was talk of record heat. I decided to use this hot, hazy day to take stock of the blessings in my life for which I feel so much appreciation. As I put in my laundry, flushed my toilet and ran the dishwasher, I felt so appreciative that the engineers were able to keep water pressure up. I felt so much appreciation for my husband who lugged in two cases of bottled water last night from the grocery store and for the fresh fruits and vegetable which now grace the inside of our refrigerator.
The practice of gratitude is one that I have incorporated into my every day life. I reflect on what I am grateful for every morning before I get out of bed (beginning with the wonderful bed from which I get to begin to create my new day). But for me, appreciation is a deep feeling - an understanding about the meaning and magnitude of something in my life. I will confess right here and now that I did not appreciate my town of Brookline. While my children were in school and I was a working mom, I felt as though I did not belong in this town. Of course, it was not the town I felt I did not belong to -- it was a deep seated feeling within myself that I did not belong anywhere. I just found external reasons for validating these feelings about myself. The myths I harbored about feeling unworthy, unfit manifested themselves in my inability to appreciate the incredible blessings in my life. But when the Universe hit me with a 2 x 4 in December of 2006, I awakened to the blessings in my life and when I began to feel gratitude and look for the blessings wrapped inside the crisis, moving out of the victim role, my life began to heal and I began to blossom.
The other day I was waiting to meet someone to talk about our mutual businesses, our life's journeys and to connect over a cup of coffee. While I was waiting I looked across the street at the train stop - St Mary's Street and I became so appreciative for the town I live in. These past few weeks I have had the opportunity to attend events in downtown Boston and I felt a renewed sense of appreciation for this beautiful city. I attended a retirement party for a former colleague at the VA. I saw many of my former co workers and I felt a deep sense of appreciation for the opportunity to have known them and worked with them. I even knocked on one of the physician's doors to tell him how much I appreciated the opportunity to have worked with him. He was so surprised and not one to show a lot of emotion, but I could see how I had touched his heart by this simple gesture.
As my regular readers know, I was recently featured on a Channel 7 News Sports Story. I provided the executive sports producer with my documentary, "Keeping the Pace" and a CD of photos which a photojournalism student took during our last training run and on Marathon Monday. The sports producer had not returned the CD/DVD to me via mail but since I was going to be right around the corner from Channel 7 for the retirement party, I asked him if I could stop by to pick them up. I expressed my heartfelt appreciation to him, to Rhett Lewis, the reporter and to the on air staff. As we talked,I asked him, just out of curiosity, what footage was copyrighted which would not allow me to upload the news story or which would not allow it to be on the Channel 7 website. It would have been easy to focus on the fact that I was not allowed to upload the story or I could (and did) focus on the deep sense of appreciation I felt that they had chosen to feature my Boston Marathon run. He told me it was the documentary footage -- I laughed and I told him that I owned the copyright for the documentary footage. We both laughed and I hugged him expressing appreciation that I could now share the story on line to inspire others with what is possible in this life.
Have you expressed your appreciation today for the blessings in your life? Have you felt that deep stirring in your soul -- that feeling that no matter how external appearances may seem, nothing can shake your center of Love? Have you told the people in your life how much you appreciate them?
Okay - shameless self promotion segway (and this was not intentional-honest to God) -- one of the wonderful ways you can express your appreciation to someone special in your life is with an original poem from New World Greeting Cards.
Be sure to check out the Grateful Chics for extraordinary items to express your gratitude. "Gratitude Beads help you remember the GOOD in your life & to stay grateful for our:
CREATOR (1 large bead)
PEOPLE (3 medium beads)
& LITTLE THINGS or EVENTS (6 small beads).
Use them as prayer beads or meditation beads; hanging on a keyring, in a window or rear view mirror; clipped on a belt, purse. Remember 10 GOOD things in your life every single day!"
I am grateful to Joy and Tracy for the love and light they bring through their creativity and spiritual wisdom as Grateful Chics.
One of the ways I express appreciation for the blessings in my life is to give to others. When you purchase copies of my books of inspirational poetry 20% of book proceeds are donated to The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Hope Charitable Trust
I am so appreciative to you my readers -- thank you for reading