Gratitude is the best tool towards happiness.
Gratitude is the best tool towards happiness.

It’s the little things that count

A few things I love

Gratitude is probably the strongest force available to us, yet so little people practice this skill consciously.

“It seems so trivial. Why practice it?” You may ask, if you are one of those people. My simple answer? “Because it feels good.”

It feels good being grateful. It feels good appreciating something. It feels good to feel the expanded feel-good as the moment is shared, becoming even more. One smile turning into two, turning into laughter, turning into joy.

The past few days have been filled with challenges and filled with joy. The feel-bad challenges however hardly compare with the joy of feeling good and I’m glad that I’ve been practicing noticing the small things for years, making it easy to shift my focus to what feels good.

As an enlightened monk once said after tragedy struck — this is why we practice. Today, I got that.

You don’t need to practice feeling good when you are feeling good. It just happens. You need to practice feeling good for when things suck. This week has been a sucky one, and yet, I laughed and shared smiles with so many people.

Because it’s the little things that make you happy. Here’s the little things that brought me joy this week.

  1. A homeless bum stopping me in the street just to tell me I’m so beautiful with a big smile on his face. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more beautiful in my life.
  2. A jazz rapper with dreadlocks walking in the street, jamming a song and as we made eye contact, me with a smile on my face appreciating this self-expression and joy, he put even more energy into his performance dancing and increasing the volume as he hopped past, dreadlocks swirling around his smiling face and reggae hat.
  3. I walked into a coffee shop and the waiter had a big, broad smile on his face, serving my flat white as if he loved what he did, and loved serving me. You can’t help enjoy a coffee more if it’s served with such an authentic smile.
  4. I got onto a bus and heard someone offering another passenger who was standing a seat. Amazing. Never happens where I live. More amazing? The person humbly saying no thank you, seeing himself as an equal who don’t see why someone should give up his seat in favor of him. 2 Stops later, enough people left for him to sit down.
  5. I listened to music when I became aware of a different noise and as I switched off the music to hear where it’s coming from, heard the sound of much needed rain amidst a drought where I live. No music contains sweeter sounds than the dance of raindrops on the thirsty earth.
  6. I picked red, plump tomatoes, chillies and rosemary from the vegetable garden outside my room and cooked a nourishing pot of warm soup in the cold of winter. Yum.
  7. Waking up without an alarm clock. After all these years, I still can’t get over how much I love this simple pleasure, not having to live by a clock or a schedule.
  8. Walking on the beach daily and admiring one of the seven wonders of the world, wondering how many people can say the same?
  9. I listened to someone who got into trouble at work, reprimanded harshly by their manager, and offered kind words of understanding to resolve the perceived injustice. Seeing the relief and peace only a few kind words can bring and the appreciation in the eyes of the recipient, boost my levels of joy for the entire day.
  10. I read a newsletter from my favorite newsletter sender offering words of encouragement to take that step that will make your dreams come true, inspired by training she attended the past few days. She seems to do and say everything just right.

These are a few joys I experienced this week that made me feel good amidst the metaphorical storm.

My question to you is “Why on earth would you not practice gratitude everyday?” and more importantly, “What brought you joy the past week?”

Originally published on Medium: