Friday Five – Gratitude

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,
Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and
Mar at Mar on the Run.
Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!

Today’s topic is Gratitude. I think it’s particularly appropriate that we’re focusing on this topic the day AFTER Thanksgiving. Gratitude isn’t just for one day of the year, it is needed every day and some days more than others.

I’ve found that the more I can focus my thoughts, attention and energy on what I’m grateful for, the better off I am. I feel better, I have a better attitude, I’m more pleasant to be around, better able to support others and do good things. All this benefit to me from the relatively simple (though not always easy) practice of noticing and naming the good things in my life and the world, big and small – or even the absence of bad things, or just that it could always be worse – and allowing the natural feeling of gratitude that exists inside to swell to the surface for a moment and perhaps cause me to say or do something positive, which makes me (and perhaps someone else) feel even better. It’s a virtuous circle.

The list of who and what I’m grateful for would be pages and pages long. So here are just a few thoughts and other gratitude-related links for you.

I am so incredibly grateful for

  • My health & that of my family and loved ones
  • My running and all it brings/gives/teaches me, all the people and resources supporting me in my running in any and every way, including my tweeps and my blog readers. I have learned so much about myself through running. And in the last year I have realized dreams I barely dared to hope might come true, and achieve goals I might have thought impossible. Now I am (cautiously, eagerly, with fear, with excitement) dreaming bigger, faster, scarier dreams and goals, and planning my journey toward them.
  • People who love me and support me, laugh with me, cry with me, and put up with my quirks, both family and friends, near and far
  • The mind-boggling good fortune of my life – the country and family I was born into, freedom and safety, my job (present and many past), a roof over my head, indoor plumbing, safe and plentiful food and water, insurance and health care, the people who’ve taught me, encouraged me, helped me…..
  • Reading and writing, learning and connecting, curiosity, generosity and all the good in the world….there is so much good and beauty in the world, so much need, and so many working to make things better for others. There is always someone (or some cause) to support, someone who needs a kindness or a listening ear, and I’m grateful that I have the opportunities and the ability to help and serve.

Speaking of those who serve others…..I’ve mentioned Felicia before but want to encourage you to read her blog and support her efforts. This retired Marine Major (Wellesley grad, helicopter pilot!), daily deals with ongoing medical issues that would keep many of us from doing anything other than the minimum. But that’s not her way. Not only is this runner smart, tough, courageous, driven and determined, she is grateful, humble and generous.

While being the mom of two adorable small ones and studying for the LSAT – so she can better help others as an attorney – she is devoting tremendous physical and mental effort and time to her 12for12for1200 project. As she says “retired from the Corps, but not done serving”. She’s running 12 races, totaling 1200 miles, in 12 months to raise funds for the Semper Fi and Marsoc Foundations.

From her blog: The Latin phrase “non mihi, sed tibi, gloria” is my family crest’s motto, it means, “Glory to thee, not to me.” It is a phrase of service and giving, about assisting others to achieve and to succeed. I am raising funds to give back to two organizations which aid injured military personnel and in doing so, giving back to myself – by deciding that I will achieve what they said would no longer be possible.” 

A quote from a recent post: “There’s been some fun activity at the house this week, one munchkin sick for four days plus our downstairs heater conked out Wednesday evening, and yet, I wake up grateful every morning; I’ve no reason to be otherwise.” 

Even in accepting the decision of a military board so she can move on, she is grateful:

“I am grateful for the leadership and mentorship I received, the lessons I learned, the experience I gained and the people I have met and can call friends and family. I am grateful that there were those throughout this process who looked after me, who assisted me, from the medical and legal side, as well as those who continue to help me transition and move forward. I am grateful and humbled that I was given the opportunity to serve; I did my best to do so with honor, with courage and with commitment.”

 

Please take a look and support her in her efforts however you can – if not with funds, then with RTs and your best wishes. I am grateful for people like Felicia who go above and beyond to help others (but don’t think of themselves as extraordinary) because they inspire me and remind me not only that there is good in the world, but that there is always something I can do to serve.

 

One last thing from me:

If you are grateful for something or someone (or to someone) – say so. NOW.

Now is all we have, and it could mean a lot to someone to hear your words.

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Here are some posts on gratitude by one of my favorite columnists/essayists, Kristin Armstrong. I highly recommend her book Mile Markers, and her posts in the old Mile Markers column on Runner’s World and her new columns on their Zelle sub-site.

Thought for Trot – this year’s Thanksgiving thought – you can see it builds on the ones below…..I echo her “turn a holiday theme into a life practice”

The List

Little Luxuries

Carrying the Weight – go further…when you make the list of what you’re grateful for, include the “why” – and when you thank someone, tell them too!

A post from Leo on 10 ways to show gratitude….and one on why living a life of gratitude can make you happy.

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Who and what are you grateful for, and why?