Gratitude. It is quite the buzzword these days. I speak on gratitude—a lot. It is one of my foundational practices. It is as essential to me as breath awareness. Why? Much of our human existence is based on obtaining external “happiness,” such as getting the next promotion, the newest tech, the bigger house, and the new car. We collect things in hopes of it bringing us happiness. How many times did we have to have that new phone or tablet only to want the next best thing a week later?

We, humans, are notorious for wanting more and wanting it now. How can we ever expect to be happy with the next best thing if we can’t be happy with what we have right now? One of the most tragic lessons I have learned is that time is fleeting. Right NOW! This moment is all that we have. Breathe in. Relax into the moment. Smell the air. Feel the sensations whether they are considered pleasant or not. When you feel the anger arising, say, “ah, there you are, Anger, I see you.” and then take care of yourself. Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself feel the anger. Don’t allow the anger to take root. Be in the present moment with the anger. Make friends with it. Do this with every emotion, joy, fear, excitement—feel the feelings, lean into it.

As a young mother, I was ALWAYS waiting for life to “happen.” I “wanted” myself into depression, wanting things to be different, and wanting the world to be different than it was. I missed much of my children’s lives because I was not present at the moment. I could give you a million reasons why I wasn’t present; I was a teen mom and not prepared for parenthood. I was in a domestic violence relationship, and my self-worth was damaged. I was future tripping wanting things that were not in my realm of possibility. I was stressed. I was poor. I was uneducated. I was stuck. I was so many damn things, but I also was mostly not present. I did not savor the moments.

Through the grace of the universe, life began taking some different shapes as I left the abusive husband and tried to learn how to navigate being an adult. Life shapes and shifts. Nothing stays the same. The one constant in life is CHANGE! We are always in search of happiness from external sources. Every stupid decision is geared towards what we think will bring us joy. Not that silly decisions bring anything other than ridiculous consequences. Life shapes and shifts. I grew. Personal growth helped me learn to appreciate the moment. To breathe in the moment. Savor it. The good, the bad, and the ugly, all of the moments. None of it stays very long. Always in constant motion, even when we feel stuck, life still shapes and shifts.

As I have grown older, as I have learned that happiness is not bought or manipulated, I have focused on the practice of gratitude. It has become my foundational practice. I encourage every single person to adopt this practice as their own. Gratitude practice is one that reminds me to look up at the clouds. To savor the breeze that floats between the trees. I have learned to enjoy the chaos of life. Because it is always in motion, shaping, and shifting. Life is fluid. Happiness is found in gratitude. Abundance is found in gratitude. One day you are a young mom, and then the next, you are a young grandma! Savor it! Appreciate it. Lean into it.

We must learn to have gratitude in every moment. To be here, RIGHT NOW! My right now is sitting in my living room, my two dogs eating a snack; I can hear their crunches. The house is otherwise quiet. The lights are low, and I am enjoying the moment. I savor it. Because I know that all I have, all I can EVER be sure of is the present moment that I am in right here, right now. As you read this, take a deep breath, come back to the present moment. Where are you? What do you hear? What do you smell? What are you feeling? Appreciate where you are, Right here, Right now.

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