Can you remember a time in your life that where you were overcome with gratitude?
Absolutely, it was the birth of our child. My wife is a remarkable woman, and I’m beyond fortunate to have her as a best friend and true partner in life. We weren’t initially certain we could have kids so getting pregnant was a welcome joy. While we were discussing the delivery plan she agreed to let me co-deliver with our doctor at Cedar Sinai. This basically meant that Dr. Lee (massive shout out to another incredible woman) set the birth course for success, before stepping aside to allow me to finish the job of catching our son Alden and passing him into Lisa’s waiting arms. Taking part in that process, witnessing birth and being afforded the opportunity to hold our son as he first came into this world, well that’s as close as I’ve ever come to experiencing a miracle. Beautiful and surreal. We have an audio recording of the experience, and every so often Lisa and I pause whatever we’re doing just to remember the moment. It was a special time in our lives when we were both filled with gratitude, a feeling we enjoy reliving time and time again.
(Additional notes of gratitude: I’d be remiss if I did not thank our dear friend, Clark, for tipping us off to the fact that being able to co-deliver a baby is even a thing that’s allowed. Also, to Desiree and all the rest of the unbelievably kind and talented Cedar Sinai maternity ward staff. Thank you!)
What are some practices we can use to nurture our capacity for gratitude?
There’s a practice that I call “Wins, Wisdom, Gratitude” which I do everyone morning for 30 minutes. It’s very simple. First, spend 10 minutes writing down a few wins from the previous day. Next, spend 10 minutes reading something inspiring. (This can be select passages from a book, motivational articles, inspiring poetry, whatever does it for you.) Finally, I have a shortlist of people who are closest in my life. My immediate family and friends. I’ll take that last 10 minutes and select one or two of them to send a short text of gratitude to. I try and be specific around something I appreciate about them, and send it off with zero expectation of anything back.
There’s a lovely saying that anxiety and gratitude can’t share the same space. I’ve found that this practice of gratitude definitely help me reduce anxiety. Just the act itself inspires joy.