In my past, when I gave thanks, I always expressed explicit gratitude for the explicitly good stuff:
The job. The love. My husband, my family, my kids. Money. The big win. My health. Kindred friends.
As years and wisdom started inspiring my gratitude, new layers and permutations of thanks began. I started a new practice, one in which I offered thanks for the less flamboyant, but equally powerful:
Sunlit, spring-breeze dried clothing.
Still pudgy toes resting on a dusty baseboard.
Raw, barren wind chapping my skin, pulsing like life itself.
Muscles in legs that carry my body through each step.
Chocolate chip cookies (and the dough. Especially the dough.)
A laugh shattering a once-tense moment.
A pile of dishes representing a warm meal, time together and full bellies.
A stranger, smiling warmly and gently.
And as I continue to practice, and become more seasoned, I implement a twist on my tradition of thanks. One which I hope will provide freedom and more space in my lungs, more room for the flux of life: there is a gift in each phase, each moment of my life.
In piles of snotty tissues.
In a broken HVAC system.
In a parent's divorce.
In panicked sadness.
In a dead car battery.
In an argument with Hubby.
In stomped feet, slammed doors, eye rolls and picky eaters.
I recognize, although nascent in this discipline, that it all unfolds, exactly as it should. In each, a reflection of myself. In each, growth. In each, grace. In me, gratitude.