Life Happens When You Stop Taking Things For Granted
What happens when you stop taking things for granted?
Well, the other morning I got to thinking about this when I turned on my radio and heard…
“What are you taking for granted?”
That was the survey question of the morning on my local radio station.
What is your answer?
If you are like most of those who responded to this question that early morning, you would probably say something regarding your health, the environment, or a special person in your life, in no particular order.
Sure, there were a handful of other responses, but most fell into those three categories.
“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” ~ Aldous Huxley
True words, Aldous Huxley.
It seems to be an innate quality of being human, this ‘taking things for granted.’
And a curious one, too.
Consider the responses: health; environment; people.
They are huge foundations in our lives, and obviously things we do not appreciate until they are ‘broken’ or ‘gone’.
Thoughts of chasing after material items, focusing on the next acquisition or accomplishment consume our mind, energy and time.
Yet when we step out of our routines and actually, consciously think about what matters in our lives, it is so rarely the materialistic item that counts:
- Health - health in body, mind, and spirit is key to a peaceful, happy life.
- Environment - this encompasses both the natural and man-made environment. The clean water, trees, housing, food supplies, health facilities, parks, etc. all support our ability to prosper and thrive.
- People - the relationships we nurture ground us, lift us up, and propel us to be the best self we can be.
So, why do we take such precious things for granted?
Let’s explore that answer.
Oftentimes these things we hold most dear are also the things that seem most consistent and reliable in our lives. We assume they will always be there, and we never expect them to be gone.
You know, like our bodies will just keep working because that is what bodies do.
Our environment will be able to support us because the wind keeps blowing and the rain keeps coming and the sun keeps shining, whether we think about it or not.
Our loved ones and friends will be there because, well, where else would they be?
The very consistency of their presence lulls us into the illusion that they are permanent. They blend into the background of our daily comings and goings, always there, and always (!) will be.
We feel confident of their presence, and thus we expend our thoughts and energies in other directions on things we are not so sure of ‘having’.
It is not until we are threatened with the loss of one of these precious things that we truly realize they are way more important than the new boots or next promotion.
How can we turn the tide and begin to NOT take things for granted?
Two words: Live Consciously.
And what does that mean?
Live in the Moment
Notice what is happening right now around you.
When you take time to really notice what is going on in the moment, you distance yourself from dwelling in the past and/or thinking about the future. Your mind and senses are free to fully explore, recognize, and appreciate the big and little things that surround you right now.
What do you see? What do you hear? Is there something to taste? Whom are you speaking with? How do you feel physically in this space? And how do you feel inside, in your heart, emotionally? What is going on outside the window? Is the sun shining, the snow glistening, the moon rising? Are the bees buzzing around the flowers? What is happening right next to you? Is there music playing? A treat you forgot you had?
Explore and appreciate what your life is at this very moment.
Consciously choose to show gratitude for what you do have each and every day.
There is a saying, “The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for.” ~ Unknown
Although it is sometimes easier for you to list qualities and items that you wish you had than it is to recognize those you do have, commit to the act of being grateful for your blessings each day. There will always be things you want to achieve, acquire and do, but your life, just the way it is, holds things that others wish they could achieve and acquire and do.
Be mindful of your good fortune and give thanks for it. By acknowledging what you have, you are more aware of what you value in your life, you gain better clarity of yourself, and you live with more intention.
Live to be of service
When you reach out to others you become more aware of just how much you have to share with the world. And hey, don’t feel like you have to have something big and monumental to share in order for you to be of service. A smile can shift one person’s day in a whole new direction. A few kind words can turn someone’s mood around.
Sharing your time, your talents and treasures allows you to initiate and participate in the infinite cycle of receiving and giving. What you may consider a ‘simple thing’ can mean the world to another. You begin to consciously notice how much you have to offer to others as you become aware of what others do not have. Just like with Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, your heart and world expand each time you help another out. Plus, when you give freely to another you feel good!
And what happens when you stop taking things for granted?
Don’t wait for that dreaded phone call, health issue or catastrophe before you honor and appreciate all the awesomeness of your life. Do it now. There really is too much good out there not to share it, amplify it, and bring it to the forefront of your life each day.
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”
~ A.A. Milne
If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).