Cultivating a Grateful Heart

Pretty flowers that I took a snapshot of while walking by.

The feeling of gratitude. Have you felt a sense of gratitude today?

I took that above photo last month when my husband, my son and I went to the Westgate shopping mall next to the Jurong East MRT. I happened to walk pass and see these pretty white flowers with red tips.

Looking at this photo reminds me to slow down once in a while and take snapshots of the beauty that’s right in front of my eyes and learn to be more appreciative of my surroundings.

For many years, gratitude wasn’t something that I paid much attention to. I would say thanks to people when they helped me to do stuff or gave me things. But what about other times, in moments of of my own solitude, did I express appreciation for the many beautiful people and things in my life? Have I failed to notice how interconnected we are to other living beings, and how my life is supported by so many people in so many diverse ways that I could not even fathom?

It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I read books that brought up the topic of gratitude that set me thinking. Then I started  to practice being consciously appreciative of the people, things and events in my life. That’s where I started see for myself the blessings in my life that I’ve taken granted for. When I started to fill my heart with gratitude and thankfulness, I began to experience even more people, opportunities and things to be thankful for.

However, it’s easy to slip into our old mode if we are not watchful. These last few years, in the midst of grappling motherhood, raising an active toddler, and a quickly diminishing work/income, it’s easy to forget about being thankful and slipped into a complaining mode.

I knew that I had to regain my sense of gratitude. Two years ago, I read another book that took me on a 28-day journey of expressing gratitude and appreciation into different areas of my life. One of the exercises that I still continue to now is where each night when I’m lying in my bed, I would review the day’s events and pick the best thing that happened in the day to be thankful for.

But why did I want to talk about being thankful today? Because I realized it’s very easy for me to forget and I have to make a conscious habit of remembering to practice having gratitude in my heart.

I also recalled how in the days when I was scrapbooking, I would scrapbook about the little moments of my life that I might otherwise have overlooked. I took more photos of the little things and feeling more appreciative of the moments I shared with family and friends, and looked at things with more thoughtful eyes. So yeah, scrapbooking did fill my life with more gratitude.

Now that I’ve started on my Project Life scrapbook this year, I think the same might happen. Taking stock of those fleeting little moments of life, capturing them on photos and doing memory keeping of these passing memories in my Project Life scrapbook. Reminding me to maintain a grateful heart, often.

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