Gratitude Awareness: Sometimes it happens without even trying

Chocolate cake pops

I had a birthday earlier this week. I won’t tell you how old I am, but my daughter was singing the number to me that morning and I replied, “it’s better than the alternative”.  It was a good day, probably one of my favourite birthdays. 

The night before my wife made cake pops (not the ones in the picture, those are long gone) and figured out a way for me to transport sixteen of them to work to share with my colleagues and I felt such gratitude when I came down and saw them, even though I knew she’d done it and even had one the night before. She and our daughter both wished me Happy Birthday first thing, and it made me smile.

I had a good workout and was struck by the thought that 30 years ago I wasn’t running as well as I am today, and I felt grateful for my health.  I received several messages from friends and family who I wouldn’t be seeing on that day, and some good wishes and a few hugs at work (that may have been because of the cake pops), which filled me with gratitude for my friends and family.

While I try to think of things I’m grateful for every morning, on my birthday I noticed that I felt grateful throughout the day without any effort at all. It was just there. 

Now, this could be dismissed as it was my birthday and people were making a big deal, but other than the Happy Birthday greetings, the day was pretty much like most of my days. On a typical day my wife and daughter do things that make me smile, I have a good workout, I have a few laughs with co-workers and / or other friends.  I’ve had plenty of days that I haven’t felt the gratitude that I felt that day.  In fact, I’ve had a lot of birthdays that I didn’t feel it.  

While so many people  played a roll in what I had to be grateful for on my birthday, that feeling was really a gift to myself.  I don’t know if it’s my continuing gratitude practice, my meditation practice, the medication that I finally decided to admit I needed almost a year ago, or a combination of these things and other unknown factors, but the repeated feeling of gratitude through out my birthday was a gift that I gave to myself by doing those things. 

If all of my loved ones had shown up at my house or even called, if I had been sent dozens of roses and other presents, my birthday wouldn’t have been as special if that sense of gratitude hadn’t so easily arrived. For that, I am grateful.

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