As we continue to move past the challenges of 2020, I have been reflecting on the blessings of the year. On a macro-level, this year has been arduous. Yet, despite the loss, I have also been awarded some of the most beautiful gifts available to us in this lifetime. My family is healthy and safe, I have a warm, safe place to live and food to eat. I even fell in love. This year has not been without hardship. I was very ill in October and for two weeks, I could hardly open my eyes or move but I recovered. At first, I was angry and felt alone, thinking that no one could truly sympathize with my experience. I allowed negative thoughts to circulate in my mind: My best friend didn’t check in on me, I lost money being sick, I lost ground with my exercise routine. I allowed myself to wallow for a bit.
Then one day, it hit me: Why am I worried about other people’s actions? Is this really the worst thing that happened to me from this experience? I am so grateful to be alive. I am grateful to be able to move. I am grateful I can open my eyes, read a book, make myself something to eat! This sudden shift has completely turned my perspective upside-down. I now have eyes to see the true beauty that comes with our existence here on Earth. Sometimes, thinking about these things, makes me cry. Not because I am sad or mourning, but because I am so grateful. Grateful to be alive, grateful to be able to see the sun peeking through clouds for one more day. Grateful that my family has been minimally affected by the year. Grateful that I can move and get outside and feel the brisk winter air on my face. This is the essence of being alive. These things are the evidence we have that we are living, feeling, sentient beings. I thank God, the universe, whoever you want to thank, for these things.
Next time you stir awake on a Saturday morning, don’t open your eyes right away. Just listen. Listen for the sounds of morning. Whether that be birds singing to each other, rain tinging the window, your partner’s gentle snoring next to you. Give thanks. These are the sounds of life happening around us. Next time you can see the face of a loved one, step outside the moment and give thanks, that you can be with them now. And I don’t mean now as in compared to before where you could not be with them. I mean in this very, exact, moment now. The entirety of life exists in those three letters: now. Nothing else exists outside this present moment.
Yes, the past did happen and the future will come, but we give our power away by focusing on these concepts that have either passed or are yet to come, not yet in existence. Next time you slide your favorite hoodie on, lean into the soft cotton feeling on your skin. When you drink your next cup of coffee, inhale the smell of the roast. When your kids are tearing through the house, appreciate their zest for life and uninhibited spirit. Life is truly made of these micro-moments. If we cannot recognize the beauty in each of these, we allow life to pass us by. Take hold of each of these little “nows” and bring them into your heart. Give thanks for them. This is how we can truly live.