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Popular bar in San Diego, CA. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

Popular streetfront bar and restaurant in San Diego, CA says it all. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

The most common excuse we hear at the start of a gratitude practice:  ‘I’m too busy.’

Anyone who says that could pause and be grateful, then, in that moment, for all that makes life so busy.

Is it the children? a large, extended family?  Lots to be grateful for.

Friends, neighbors — even the most demanding ones?  Pick one and think why you’re grateful s/he is part of your life.

A job?  Volunteer work?  Sports, fitness, other fun?  Plenty of gratitude material.

Just a split-second pause for gratitude is a baby step on the way to true mindfulness in all we do, no matter how frantic life seems.

Grabbing at gratitude

Another of the most common excuses:  ‘I just don’t feel it.’

In 16 or more waking hours, there is not one thing that grabs your gratitude?

Try this:  Analyze the first move you make in the day.  Are you grateful for fresh water to drink? a warm shower? good food? a safe home?

Skip the mirror and the scales if you’re too self-critical and just live.  Breathe deeply and be grateful for this breath, then the next.  Give yourself permission to enjoy the way you look, the way you are, this moment, this day.

Is it quiet and you like that? Give thanks.

Is the family too noisy?  Give thanks for their commotion — and for the tranquility you might find later.

I was thinking of all this when making the bed this morning, recalling that I often grumble about how much I hate housework.  Yet even tossing the sheets is a pleasure, because I like our bed so much.  I’m recovering from insomnia, so I’m thankful we have a good mattress, and bright sheets from Ikea.

I’m grateful for the way it all fits together each morning, and for the rest it promises at day’s end.