Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
Gratitude can be a funny thing. A narrative that too often feels hard to reach and keep. This is why for years to come, I hope to keep the art of practising gratitude. My journey started last month when I realized how much I was always trying to be more conscious. I was unaware of how far I had come, what I had achieved, and how well I was doing. All this led to a feeling of lacking. Almost as if all the work, energy, tears, milestones and lessons meant nothing. Then one day, while my daughter was playing with my phone, a podcast by Brene Brown and Oprah Winfrey on gratitude and happiness started playing (coincidence? maybe?). Either way, long after she had moved on to something else to keep her hands busy, I finished listening to the podcast and suddenly realized that I had forgotten to stop and look back at how far I had come. This meant that even though I knew I had achieved some significant milestones in my life, I hadn't taken the time to embrace, experience and fully cherish them. I knew I had to do something about this feeling. I knew I had to look at all that was around me, not through the lens of lack, but rather through the lens of gratitude and abundance.
A few days later, while doing some online shopping, I got a gratitude journal. A guided journal that takes only 5 minutes to complete, with 4-5 questions and prompts that inspire gratitude. More than a month in, and I love it. It has helped me visualize how far I have come and how much I have. I also see that instead of looking outside for fulfilment and nourishment, all I need to do is look inwards. And somewhere buried between the stress of daily life, I find that I can step back and appreciate what was and what is and what will be. Not in a hurried manner that adds stress, but in a more gentle nudge to be present in every situation. I am doing okay. And ultimately, I am exactly where I need to be. Even if it isn't picture-perfect or ideal, I am still grateful for where I am now.