Today, I am grateful for time out in the sunshine with my wonderful friends. Single Mum weekends alone with the boys can be a challenging affair at times, so I was deeply grateful to be able to share my day with some of my gorgeous, joyful friends and their beautiful families. Today, feet in the water at Stanborough Lakes and giggling in the sunshine with the girls, as the menfolk chatted and the children played, I felt truly blessed. Suncream was slathered on, picnics were enjoyed and shared, fish were caught and let back to swim freely on. Oh, the joys of a sunny Summer day where big skies abound and the sound of happy squeals and laughter ring out. I had every reason to feel grateful today. It is a good day to launch the Gratitude Daily course for Summer 2014 and encourage others to appreciate the good things for a more joyful life.
There was a point, some ten or so years ago, when I had this funny feeling that I was at an age where I would not make many more new friends. I had a few friends from school, a few more from Uni, then I inherited the friends of my boyfriend, their girlfriends and a group I had become close with whilst running my market stall. There were the work friends who I saw on the job, but rarely outside it and a whole host of people with whom I spent time on a rather irregular basis. Loyal friends who I hung out with often were few and far between. Where this feeling came from, I have no idea. I don’t know what led me to believe that you get to an age or a period in life where the new friendships just stop happening, but I remember thinking it. Maybe I was just stuck… stuck in that life, in that working rut, in the not quite being true to myself place where new horizons seemed unlikely. But in the past few years, I have made many wonderful connections with incredible people, including some of the most courageous and inspiring friends I have ever had in my life. This, I had not anticipated. The conversations that have recently arisen dig deeper than I have ever dug and open doors to connection and meaning, both in the moment of sharing and then rippling out into other relationships. Each time, it astounds and delights me. Yesterday, for example, I spent the afternoon with a relatively new friend… someone who I have known for just one year, but with whom I feel totally at ease. Life makes sense when we are together. Within 9 minutes of meeting she had me in tears. Good tears. You know, the sort that fall silently when someone truly gets it… when you feel heard and seen and understood. She moved me with her words of how my Gratitude Daily course had changed her life… for the better. That’s when the deeper sharing began. With her, I feel safe sharing my vulnerabilities, knowing they will be treated with kindness and respect and I invite her opinion and request her advice, trusting that she will speak the truth and not just what I want to hear. We are looking out for each other. For such loyal friends and for moments like these, I am truly grateful. The internet too, has allowed for some incredible connections with like-minded people, some of whom have become dear friends, even though we have never, or rarely, met face to face. Yet, the loyalty, support and understanding know no bounds. I feel privileged that my courses have brought together two separate groups within which such deep and heartfelt friendships and connections have been forged. May there be many, many more.
Today, I am grateful for old friends. The ones who have known you for what feels like a lifetime, but who these days you rarely see. Those friends who, no matter how long the gap between spending time together, you still share and connect on the same deep level that you always did? Time melts away and it’s just like it always was? Magic and laughter. Today, I had one of those meetings.
So here’s to old friends… and new ones too… my gratitude goes out to you.
Here’s to meetings that feel like yesterday.
Here’s to time spent together again in what I hope will seem like just days.
I think it’s time I started planning a trip to New Orleans.
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Today, I am grateful for the joy a smile can bring. It costs nothing, but says everything.
I am not talking about the toothy grin prompted by “say cheese” in the high pitched cry of a camera wielding parent intent on capturing a certain something. I am referring to that wonder-full moment when eyes are alight and a feeling in the heart is revealed. It’s contagious that thing. Pure. Spontaneous. Magic. I am grateful for witnessing the spread of a smile today… the joy passed from friend to friend, as the party began and from small boy to big brother, to (me) mother, grandmother, and on…
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I am grateful for the joy of friendship. I am grateful for my own precious friends and that my small son, 5 today, already has some truly kind, loyal and loving friends. I am grateful that in watching them today, jumping and giggling, I was reminded of my own happy childhood parties and my old school friends. I am grateful for family and for the fact that whilst ours is no longer intact, we remain close and are able to share these special occasions, extended family included. I am grateful for the sound of children’s laughter… it rang out today and is music to my ears. Grateful for the sound of silence now that our day is over; the presents opened; the cake eaten. I am grateful for peace at last and for the feeling of joy in my heart that each of today’s memories, lived and re-lived brings. I am grateful that tonight, I feel abundantly blessed. My heart is smiling.
Today, something rather special happened… a little gathering took place at my home for five international women (Spanish, English, Italian, South African) – one quarter of our gratitude group – to celebrate one year of practicing gratitude together. After posting an open invitation on my Facebook page last February, I set up a closed community of 20 women, sent daily prompts for one month as we all worked on our gratitude practice. Sharing daily our gratitude, as well as our challenges, brought us close across the miles, from London to Seattle to the Czech Republic. One year on, we continue to support each other in our struggles and share our joy in life’s little things. Whilst several of us were already friends, new connections were forged and although today’s gathering was the first meeting for some, I know it will not be the last. Growing and nurturing our gratitude practice has been a bright and beautiful journey together.
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Today, I am grateful for international friends. I am grateful for the depth of our sharing. I am grateful for the safe haven that is our little community. My wish is that everyone who feels that a gratitude practice could benefit their life, would have the opportunity to experience this. It is what I am working towards with Gratitude Daily.