The following are my two favorite definitions of abundance:
- Overflowing fullness.
- An extremely plentiful or over-sufficient quantity or supply.
I’m sitting beside the fire at Pine Lodge, and it’s a pretty special time. Sherri and I bought Pine Lodge when she (and most certainly not ‘we’) was pregnant with our daughter, Ella, about 8 years ago. Since that time, we have never been here alone. We have always had children or some guests kicking around, but today it’s just the two of us and The Dirty Smooch, who has been holding down the porch as best he can.
My New Year kicked off the second week of January with some long tours and ended May 14th. I have taken over 70 flights so far in 2015. This trip with Sherri has been on the board for a long time, and to find myself sitting here – not just in my cabin but in my special spot beside the fire, nestled deep in the fabled forest of your imagination, hot coffee on hand and several cords of Canadian maple to burn, perched on the side of not just a lake but damn near my own lake – has me feeling beyond drunk, hammered really, with gratefulness.
I feel like I have been given this tremendous gift. This is the key to gratefulness, to feeling overflowing with happiness and supply. It is to see the things you have for what they are – gifts. Every moment is a gift because every moment is given to you.
Our time on earth is a gift. Every moment, every day, is an opportunity for you to change the narrative of your life. Don’t make the common mistake of believing that opportunity only knocks once or twice. It knocks constantly. The gift is the moment – or moments, or time – that you are given each and every instant you are alive. Realizing this truth is the secret to making the critical shift to being a more grateful person and a successful and happy person.
When you realize the incredible opportunity of every day, then you will simultaneously realize that you are in control. You hold all the levers as far as who controls your thoughts and feelings and actions.
You can’t be a grateful person if you share your life with someone who doesn’t love you. You can’t be a grateful person if you are in debt or uninspired by your work or surrounded by people who are awful or negative or unpleasant in any way. You cannot be grateful to have lung cancer or to have lost someone you love to violence or even the randomness of a violent moment, like a car crash.
But within these painful moments, we can choose to rise to the opportunity of being grateful. A good man loses his wife and is left alone with a broken heart and a young daughter. As devastated as he is, he remains even more grateful to have his daughter. In that fresh hell, he chooses to find a flower. He doesn’t stumble across it, he chooses to see it. I know this man.
To live a more grateful life, you have to follow these instructions precisely.
Get out of debt. Simplify your life, and stop telling yourself that not having all the stuff that everyone else has is crazy. What’s crazy is spending your precious time on earth servicing debt so that people see you drive a nice car and think you must be happy when in fact you are stressed out and heading to a job that if you are lucky, you love but if you are honest, you tolerate.
If you own a business but you abuse it, then stop. You can’t use your business as a bank account, and you can’t take your business for granted. You have to run your business like a business. [We write enough blogs about that, so I will save this subject entirely for other blogs. – DMW]
Create time in your life to stop and connect and be aware and grateful. You need big stops – trips to the cabin, planned retreats and vacations with your family where you can shower those you love with your time and attention. But you need to remember the little stops that happen throughout each day. Stop and realize that the plane being late 20 minutes isn’t the end of the world. Be grateful you have something to read, that you are comfortable and not hungry. These are choices.
Open yourself up to the opportunities that happen moment to moment. The big opportunities, like getting out of debt and starting something that you are passionate about. And the little opportunities that present themselves constantly, such as speaking to the person beside you in the airport or thanking the waiter or holding a door or calling a friend or sending an email to say thank you. Opportunities are invitations to make something good happen. They are choices.
And finally start. Start to enjoy. Start to seize opportunities. Start now.
Create time. Open up. Start.