* Who are you grateful for in your life today? What person or persons bring a smile to your face or joy to your heart? Perhaps one of the gifts you give this season could be to let them know how much you value them.
* What is one experience from your childhood that you are thankful for? Was there something that happened that made you stronger or smarter or happier?
* What is something that you use every day, perhaps without even noticing it, that makes your life better?
In her book State of Wonder, Ann Patchett cautioned, "Never be so focused on the thing you are looking for that you overlook the thing you find". Sometimes we are so intent on getting what we want or to where we think we should be that we lose awareness of what is around us. This time of year I practice gratitude for the beauty of winter light. The shortness of the autumn day makes it all the more valuable, and sometimes I feel like I don't get enough of the sun. So I choose to make a point of noticing the light, of taking a minute to stop and stand in it, soaking it up and being thankful for the way it spills into the room or dresses my garden with highlight and shadow. And when I do that, it does feel like enough at that moment, and I have brought contentment into my day.
We are at a position in the evolution of our species where we are learning more and more to live with uncertainty. Many of the day to day decisions we make have become so complex that we cannot predict the consequences. Yet, one point of power that we do have is the ability to choose where to direct our thoughts. We often cannot stop intrusive thoughts from popping into our mind, but we can choose to shift the gears and redirect our attention to cultivating gratitude for what we have right now. This day will never come again; use your thoughts to make it a good one.