“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” --Melody Beattie
One of the questions I like to ask clients is this: What does YOUR gratitude practice look like? Sometimes I get blank stares, sometimes I get enthusiastic explanations, and sometimes I get nothing at all, just a “can we get back to business, please?” Well, practicing gratitude IS a part of the business of financial planning and wealth management.
Consider this: a practice of gratitude is a transformational experience. A practice of gratitude changes your life...for the better.
More than 6 years ago, a good friend randomly pulled a book off her shelf to share and that was the beginning of my own daily practice of gratitude.
The book was by Melody Beattie, a Minnesota born author, and it’s called Make Miracles in Forty Days. The premise of Beattie’s book is simple: be grateful for EVERYTHING -- everything good, and not so good, in the present moment. (Easier said than done, I know!)
Noticing what is in your life in the moment requires presence. Gratitude and presence are symbiotic. Most days I write in my gratitude journal; for nearly four years, I shared my journal with the friend who introduced me to Beattie’s book.
We are confidants; as such, we watch as our lives and our attitudes about our lives transform. Our relationships with ourselves, with others, with our work, our businesses, our health, our wellness all became more joyful when we became more present and more grateful.
Though I no longer share my journal, I still write in it most days. Today, I am grateful for: my comfortable home and the challenging issues I’m facing, the inspiring conversation I had with one of my kids, and the respectful disagreement I just got into with a friend. I am grateful for the small, the mundane, the painful. I learn from the painful moments. I treasure the small moments. I see the mundane moments as gifts.
I’m lucky: my life is joyful. Because I take the time to practice gratitude every day, I live much more in the present moment. And living in the present gives me peace. I know that the tough times will pass, the joyful moments will fill me up, and the mundane moments provide stability. It all makes me wiser.
Take a moment today and appreciate your life as it is in this present moment. Take a moment today to be grateful.