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Gratitude Attitude: Lessons in Being Grateful

alphabet gratitude

Each and every morning, I slip on my shoes and grab Banks, my dog and number one office companion, and we head out for our morning walk. I’ve talked about how this sets my day off right, encourages me to breath in the fresh air, and often acts as endless inspiration for projects, paintings, and work throughout the week.

So when a friend told me about using the “gratitude alphabet” when you walk, I was immediately intrigued. The idea? While out and about, find something you’re grateful for that starts with the letter of the alphabet you’ve progressed to. Simple as that — but also not so simple, when you really think about it.

Turning off to be here now

One of the hardest parts about living in the incredibly wonderful world we live in is that we are constantly connected. There is unlimited opportunity to be plugged in; to be in touch; to always be doing. While there is immense advantage to this, especially as a business owner and traveler, our constant state of connection makes it especially difficult to turn off and allow yourself to just be, in the moment. Right now.

It’s the consistent pull to be plugged in that makes the need for exercises like the gratitude alphabet ever more present.

Walking with gratitude

So for 26 days straight, as I headed out for my morning walk, I took myself out of the always-on mentality and instead seeked to take in all that is around me. And each day, I discovered more and more things that I simply passed before, that are truly amazing parts of my neighborhood; my day; my life.

Day one began with apples by the road.

Day two was Banks overlooking the lake at my favorite place in the world, Brantingham.

Day three? Color. Always so much color.

With a letter in mind each day, I took in my surroundings. When day seven came around, I was amazed at the amount of things I encounter — and often sail by — that begin with the letter ‘g.’ Grapes. Geraniums. Grandma Dier (I often think of her when I walk). Gravel. GREEN! The thought process often went like this, until I landed on the one that meant the most. I was so grateful for all of the shades of green that surrounded me right in that moment. Hundreds of shades — warm, cool, dark, light. The Finger Lakes is home to magnificent greens — and stopping to absorb that gave me the overwhelming desire to capture them and be inspired by them — and later infuse them into a branding project.

On and on this went — from the journal I write in daily to the fresh lavender growing in my yard, the quiet where I get my best thinking done, and the luminescent September sunrises that have graced each morning. The further I got in the alphabet, the more and more I realized exactly how much I am surrounded by — and fulfilled by — each and every day.

Living from a place of abundance

Most of the time, I’m inspired by nature. This “challenge” was no exception — but it also took me outside of that comfort zone and had me looking at everything that surrounds me, and how gratitude can come from even the seemingly smallest things.

And the beauty of it all is this: when we focus on what we are grateful for in each moment, we stop living from a place of scarcity (“I wish I had more…” or “If only things were like this…”) and we start to realize we are infinitely living from a place of abundance, where we have all we need.

Being grateful — and recognizing that gratitude — helps me to stay positive. It reduces worry. It expands my awareness, and impacts my creativity in a positive way. It’s yet another amazing tool in my toolbox of life.

As we celebrate the end of summer and welcome the onset of fall, I encourage you to take a moment each day to connect with where you are right now and recognize something you’re grateful for. And if you’re feeling brave, share at least one thing with me below!

Banks at Brantingham         journaling        September sunrise in the Finger Lakes