I’m opening the mail as I walk back from the end of my driveway. I can still see it, a white envelope with a green stripe. It was like getting punched in the gut when I opened it, my wife had filed for divorce. We had been going through several months of anxiety when she, with our two small boys had decided to stay with her grandfather for awhile, to get some space to think. I knew things weren’t great, I knew in my gut she had feelings for someone else, but I really didn’t see THIS coming.
My outlook on life, a pattern that I can clearly see now and yet was so oblivious to at the time can be summed up in three simple words, not appreciating today. This was without a doubt the root cause of this as well as so many future frustrations, disappointments and sadness in my life.
Chasing the carrot of happiness towards an unattainable and never ending sequence of tomorrows.
18 years later I have finally begun to open and receive the gift that has been right inside of me all along. The gift is simply, Today. Appreciating this day for all of its beauty, all of its frustrations and all of its uniqueness. I had to choose to be happy with myself, by myself. Other people can add to your happiness, but no other person or material item can make you happy or feel whole.
Being grateful today, in this moment regardless of circumstances is the only path to a happy tomorrow. The future itself has no power to make you happy. If you can’t be grateful for this very day we are living, you will never be happy with all of the tomorrows that may come.
I know what you may be thinking, “ sure, but..I’ve got some crappy things going on in my life right now and I’m not grateful for it.” I know what you mean, sometimes life is just going to punch you in the face. What has worked for me is to step back and stop staring into the black hole of fear and sadness that can be imagined about an unknown future. One example, it was supposed to be just a normal Thursday when my wife Megan walked into our bathroom and said the doctor called while I was in the shower. Her tests had come back, she had cancer.
I was scared to death, but what we decided to do and how we chose to deal with it made all of the difference. Looking back, I was grateful that I could just hug her in that moment. I can still feel the soft, wet tears on my cheeks as we cried together. The future, the treatments, the uncertainty. Nothing mattered in that moment other than completely loving Megan, and being right there in that moment with her. That, in of itself, was a gift.
The worst part of living on this treadmill of ungratefulness is the weight and burden of insignificance it places on the people we love most. I want my wife and boys to always see me strive and push for that next big thing, that is definitely important. But not at the expense of being fully alive today, loving them, enjoying them in that very moment. Breathing them in with all of the beauty and passion of the here and now. Making sure they know and feel how much I love and value them in my life.
Being ungrateful for today sends a message to those around us, the people that love us the very most. The message is they are not enough. That we have this place in our mind that will bring us joy and fulfillment and only then will we finally be in this magical place that will allow us to be happy. Or in other words, you don’t make me happy and I need more. (Just a tip, that will eventually kill every intimate relationship you have.)
You are Enough right now this very minute.
This is a lot like getting in shape, consider it exercise for your soul. Doing push ups and sit ups everyday will make a big difference in how you look and feel, and it’s simple. But here’s the key, yes it’s simple, but it’s not easy. Choosing to live for today, being grateful and uplifting the people around us is exactly the same. Simple, not easy.
Take small steps and just start to notice the little things that are so easy to miss in life. A smile, a tear or someone in your life just wanting to share a story about their day. Stop and just listen, that is what the best things in life are made of.
I hope you choose today.
This weeks podcast
This podcast packs so much punch I wanted to give it a stand alone performance for the week. Hank hits a grand slam with this message. Just listen and reflect on Hank’s talk about living for today. I hope it is as impactful for you as it was for me.
For more info on Mosaic visit their iTunes page . Be sure to check out their other episodes and subscribe to their Podcast if you connect with who they are. Also, make sure to leave a rating and a comment in iTunes so Hank feels the love.
This post was originally published at Sow.Reap.Live