Mindfulness and Gratitude…

At the start of the new teaching year we heard from a guest speaker who highlighted the importance of two elements that are often missing in today’s busy world. Mindfulness and gratitude. There’s a groundswell of spreading this idea at the moment, which is really an old idea that has been lost somewhere along the way with technological advancements in the developed world that distract us from ourselves. I found the talk fascinating as I sat there considering the severe differences between the world of the “haves” versus the world of the “have nots”.

There was a connection made… a line of correlation that suggested that those of us humans with the more things, might also be more unhappy in life than those with the least things. It made me think about all the things that I have and my reason for having them to begin with. At some point we reflected on what we were grateful for in the day. In fact we were encouraged to write 3 things that we were grateful for each day, and to try this for at least one month. The benefits to mental health were highlighted and it seemed like a thing to do.



I started my gratitude diary… it lasted 2 weeks. Now I know what you’re thinking “she can’t keep at anything, this randomly updated blog is a great example of that”. There was however another reason why I didn’t keep it up and yes the argument could be made that I’m simply providing an excuse or a justification for my own bad behaviour but hear me out. I started off by taking it seriously, after all those mental health benefits sounded fabulous and who doesn’t want to feel better about themselves in a world that encourages us not to be so we can buy some product that will help us with our poor self? So I wrote down gratitude after gratitude, things such as:

“I’m grateful to be surrounded by people who support me even when they don’t understand.”

“I’m grateful that I have time to read for pleasure.”

“I’m grateful for their smile, which tells me that they’re listening to what I have to say.”

These are all things that are important to me, but something dawned on me as I got to writing entry number 16… I already do this… everyday I reflect and think of the little things that made my day great, or that saved my day from disaster. Sometimes it was the action of another, sometimes it was a decision I came to by myself and sometimes it was just by chance. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not ticking off the things that make me grateful that I’m here regardless of my circumstance at any given time. Do I really have to write down what I’m already doing?

As for mindfulness? I learnt a long time ago the power of being in the moment. It is something that I think people are allowing themselves to be robbed of. The desperation people have to “save the moment” by taking a photo rather than “savouring the moment” is so prevalent in our society that it makes me sad. I have a phone that takes photos like everyone else does and I take hundreds of photos with it, but when it’s a special moment I can’t cope with the idea of trying to fish my phone out, press the app I need and then looking up to see what I’ve missed…

This photo says it all for me… there is one person truly in the moment… and I hope I’ll always be able to savour the moment like this lady and not be on the periphery of life’s moments grasping my technology like the lost link to civilisation.

Black Mass Premier At Coolidge Corner

BROOKLINE, MA – SEPTEMBER 15: Crowd cheers as actors arrive at the premier of the movie Black Mass at the Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, Mass. Sept. 15, 2015. (Photo by John Blanding/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)


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