This year, I tried something new and set a New Year’s resolution with just one word: intentional. Later, I came across this saying by Amit Sood, and it became a personal mantra. I often look back and wish I had been more present, watched less television, and made more memories.
I don’t mean to say to “enjoy it while it lasts”, because we all experience times when survival mode is all we can manage. After the birth of my son, just two years apart from his older sister, every day was survival mode. Netflix and cake made surprisingly great coping techniques during those months. Yet, as I find time breathe again, I see that what was once a necessity has become only a habit of numbing out— one I fight daily to change.
As a result, I am learning that the joy of presence is not just for my kids or my spouse, but for myself! I find new things every day that truly rejuvenate me, that make me want to get out of bed in the morning, and that light up my soul. I have also found that resiliency and intentionality flourish in a grateful mind and heart, though it may be a question of the chicken and the egg.
Gratitude begets mindful living.
In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown illustrates this relationship between gratitude and mindful living. She notes, “[The] vulnerability that accompanies joy is an invitation to practice gratitude, to acknowledge how truly grateful we are for the person, the beauty, the connection, or simply the moment before us… …research participants consistently described both joyfulness and gratitude as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human connectedness and a power greater than us” (p. 123). In other words, practicing gratitude— accepting that invitation even when it might not come easily to us— allows us to experience greater connection in the moment, and to feel we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
The more I practice this in my own life, the more I find it to be true. A simple measure I use is to ask myself at the end of each day, what truly made me come alive today? I thank God for those moments, and I try to make more of them. Sometimes, that looks like putting down my phone to play make believe, or wrestle with the cutest kids in the world. Other times, it looks like driving to town for a smoothie and eating it in the car all by myself.
What brings you joy? What lights your soul and leaves you feeling like a million bucks? Whatever it is, I wish you lots of it.
Here’s to the sight to see when it’s already there.