Sometimes pausing and reflecting on what we are grateful for gives us a different perspective on life. There may be challenges that we are facing, grief, or just the everyday busy-ness that we tend to get lost in. When I stop and take a helicopter view and think about even one or two things I am grateful for, well, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling – how about you? I am so grateful for the opportunity to travel the world and meet many amazing people, learn about and have a deeper understanding of different cultures. Plus after our short visit back home recently, the new found appreciation of the beautiful green, green grass of home.
I am also incredibly grateful to have discovered that my sense of joy doesn’t come from the travel, the people, the cultures or the green grass. Ah, yes, it can seem as if it does – that good old illusion of life. Joy always comes from within.
I’ve been feeling quite tired in the last few days; two sets of long-haul flights from Australia to London then a rather uncomfortable journey from London to Japan. I know that when I am tired then I can get moody and my poor husband has to deal with me being in the doldrums. One particular day recently, whilst in Tokyo, I didn’t have much sleep and we had planned to go to the famous Fish Market. To make the most of this place, it is worth getting up early – the early bird catches the worm… and the fish in Tokyo! We ended up leaving much later than I expected (never good to expect) and, let’s say that the atmosphere was not light.
In the past, there would have been no chance of me being grateful at this point. Yet, in my mood I felt very thankful that I knew it would pass. I didn’t need to ‘do’ anything, I just remained quiet, waiting for the storm to gradually pass. In the past I would have ranted, probably stomped my feet with a face of thunder. Not a pleasant sight I can assure you!
Interestingly, I have noticed that in Japan, it is certainly not the ‘done’ thing to show your emotions. Everyone seems very pleasant and polite. Even today when we were at a bus stop and chatted with a local lady, she seemed uncomfortable when we were disagreeing with one another (in a nice way) about a Bullet train connection. Here it is considered childish to openly show emotions; the Japanese believe that resilience and self-control indicate a strength of character. A good lesson here. I have heard in the western world a huge generalisation that the Japanese are unemotional and cold – far from it. We have only experienced warm, friendly, helpful people with a great sense of humour (which I am so grateful for).
Writing my travel blogs (have you visited Grown Up Travellers yet?) each day allows me to reminisce about that day, and often be grateful for so much; all the wonderful people we have met, the amazing places we visit, yet sometimes it can be those little moments such as Tim saying “Kon’nichiwa” in his best baritone voice, causing me to laugh. Having a disposition of gratefulness I believe gives us inner peace, or perhaps inner peace causes us to be grateful – remind me, who comes first, the chicken or the egg?
“Gratitude and satisfaction have wonderful effects on our souls. They open our minds, clearing the way for wisdom and contentment to enter. Once you become grateful, the prison bars of your mind will fall away. Peace of mind and contentment will be yours.” Sydney Banks ~ The Missing Link
It’s not about ‘positive thinking’ or changing our thoughts – that’s a lot of hard work and doesn’t achieve much. It’s about realising that we have the power of thought. The content of our thoughts is not reality. We make everything up, moody thoughts or grateful thoughts. In fact, our thoughts are continuous and pop out nonsense a lot of the times. So why take any of your thoughts more seriously than another? We might as well leave the moody ones well alone, and wait until nice ones arrive and enjoy them at that moment in time.
The fact that we have thought is a gift. And so is the fact that we are not our thoughts! This is the spiritual nature that we call ‘life’, our moment-to-moment experience of our thoughts that we are creating about life.
I am so grateful that I have discovered this and I do so hope that you have too.
I am Lindsey Reed, an experienced International Confidence Coach, Trainer and Author. My aim is for us all to have a joyful, fulfilled life and I love connecting with people and helping them to remember who they really are, their true selves and re-ignite their lives with confidence. While I am travelling around the world, I am coaching clients via the internet. If you would like to work with me, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can connect.
My book Got It: The Answer to a Confident, Productive & Stress-Free Life is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle/ebook format and is now in over 22 countries. It describes how we create our experience of our own reality called life and through this understanding, we can have a more confident and freeing life.