This article is not about religion, spirituality, or God. It’s about being present and grateful in today’s busy, modern world
Several years ago, Dallas and I begun saying grace before each meal. We take a moment, hold hands, bow our heads, and say something nice about the day, each other, our lives. If you’ve dined with us, you’ve likely either participated in our grace (if we know you well), or watched us quietly bow our heads and speak privately before eating.
For us, this is not religious, it is simply reflective. At some point in 2010, we realized we were running from place to place, all day every day, sometimes without any meaningful personal interaction for hours—despite the fact that we were together nearly all the time. We also found ourselves too often caught up in the tiny negative details of our life—the unfavorable comment someone left on our last blog post, our more-than-expected AmEx bill (how much did we spend at Whole Foods?), the fact that we are on the road (again) in just a few days.
We weren’t behaving this way on purpose, of course—but I think you can all relate to how easy it can be to get caught up in “life.” We had a business to run, a household to maintain, a personal life to foster. And unfortunately, for a short period of time, we realized these things were prioritized in that exact order. It was all too easy to let days slip by without taking a moment to acknowledge and be grateful for everything we had, not the least of which was each other.
So, we began saying grace. Every meal, we take a purposeful, deliberate moment to connect, to be present, to be grateful. It helps us put things into perspective. It helps us remember what a good life we have been blessed with. It helps us stay humble. And, most importantly, it encourages us to pay attention to one another at least three times a day—because in the midst of all our busy-ness, we at least know we’ll eat.
We all have problems, we all have stressors, we all have struggles (some worse than others)—but we all have things we can be grateful for. Our health, our families, our stable job, our beautiful children. Just reminding ourselves of these good things can make the problems, stressors, and struggles seem more manageable, and can bring light into an otherwise dark day.
Is there a practice you can begin to remind yourself of all the good things in your life? Do you already perform your own version of grace? Has this deliberate daily mindfulness enriched your life, as it has ours? Share your views in comments.
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