When a child wants to cross a street or an intersection, we tell them to stop, look, and then go. I learned an insightful reframe of the phrase from David Steindl-Rast in his TED Talk: Want to be happy? Be grateful.
Everyone wants to be happy. My thought might be that I will be grateful when I am happy. David flipped it around for me: you are happy when you are grateful.
Some people might have all that we think of as nice to have, and they still look unhappy: they are chasing something else they might not have yet. At the same time, people who seemingly go through a difficult time, or a challenging situation, or extreme hardship might come across as happy and content. The difference might be appreciation of what they might have, and being able to cultivate positive perspective where they are with what they have.
Shift in paradigm: think of every moment as a gift. It creates a new opportunity to do or explore something new in life. If I lose a moment being preoccupied with something else, that is not a problem at all. Whenever I pause and think about it, there is a next moment and a choice, or potential, or chance to do something with it.
The key to realizing it is: Stop – Look – Go.
I might be taking so much in life for granted. Stop and appreciate all that is helping me, making my life easier, and keeping me going.
- I flip a switch, and the light turns on. It is helping me see, be comfortable, and feel safe.
- I turn on the faucet, and water comes out. Such a blessing to have water whenever I want.
- My body is metabolizing food without me having to think about it or worry about it.
- Without having to make any effort, my breathing continues keeping me alive and vibrant.
- The heart is beating, nourishing my entire body with vitality.
- My mind can think – such a priceless gift to have.
When I am running after the next thing in life, it can shut me off from many positives and blessings.
Stop once in a while: appreciate and be grateful for what you have.
I don’t have to be grateful for everything that happens: there could be trying moments, difficulties, challenges, and disturbing trends. I can still be thankful for something good that is happening in every moment in my life.
Feel the surroundings and space around me using my senses: what do I see with my eyes, what are the sounds happening around me, what am I feeling on my skin, what do I smell, is there a taste in my mouth?
The universe is happening now. The magic of life is unfolding through me. Have faith, trust the abundance and bliss from inside: it helps me be in the moment, experiencing it with all of my senses.
Khalil Gibran: And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.
Once I pause with Stop and Look, it allows me to see the next moment as an opportunity.
When going gets challenging, it can be an opportunity to grow, develop, and rise to something bigger.
It enables me to go the next step, enjoy it, embrace it with childlike curiosity and openness. Explore new, creative ideas.
Contribute. Help someone. Make a positive difference where I am, with what I have. Learn something new. Create something meaningful. Be connected with the local community.
Gratitude opens up space where I can explore and make a conscious choice to be part of something positive.
Gratitude opens my heart to the blessings of life and lets them flow through me and touch others.
Stop – Look – Go: being grateful unlocks happiness.