It’s Thanksgiving Week, and I’m faced with the obligatory task of writing a blog about gratitude…or not? I realize my last blog was about gratitude, so I must veer away from the obvious this time. I coddle my desire to be sync’d with the week’s theme, but I found a close alternative—Appreciation! Not just appreciation of what you possess (family, love, home, etc.), but appreciation for whatever situation you find yourself in at present.

Recently, I took some time off work to have a modified sabbatical. I felt burned out  and I needed a break. Have you ever felt that way? I took off for the place that rejuvenates me more than any other place I know—the Rocky Mountains.  One day, I went for a long hike with my dog Clay. My intent was to figure out my professional life and why my coaching career hadn’t taken off like I hoped. What I found was more profound and simpler than I expected—life opens up in the present—not in the future and not in the past. I realized the right now! Today is all I needed to focus on – finding the blessing in the here and now. Today is this very moment I can decide how I want to live. Bitter and Frustrated or Thankful and Joyful.

Being present is the ability to experience yourself and others at the moment. You see things as they are; not how you dreamed them to be. You’re awake and alert to what is before you. You’re more in touch and more aware than you ever thought you’d be.

When you’re focused on the present, you can appreciate life—your life—for whatever it is. You experience more positive emotions, and have less guilt, shame, and regrets.

How can you practice being more present in your everyday world?

  • Increase your self-awareness.  What are you feeling? What are you thinking? Are these helpful or not in achieving your goals for today? Remember to focus on your body and not your mind.
  • Watch what’s going on around you. Take a breath, and observe your surroundings.
  • Accept what is and what cannot change. Embrace what’s present. Don’t try to change it too quickly, just observe and see what you need to see. Many times, change happens inside of you instead of you trying to change others. Love yourself enough to not stay in destructive situations.
  • Be authentic. Be yourself by knowing yourself. Don’t worry about what others will think or say. Embrace your passion, and live according to your values. You’ll see your satisfaction with life increase.

While sitting by the rushing stream in the Rocky Mountains, I realized that I worked hard at trying to establish myself in the coaching world, but the reward hadn’t been seen YET!!!! It wasn’t that I didn’t spend long hours honing my skills and marketing my niche.  It just wasn’t the time to reap the rewards of the work. I then focused on was going on right now that I could appreciate. I made two lists:  a list of all the things in my life that were going well and a list of things that weren’t.  After, I combined them into one column and labeled it The Present.

In this fast-paced world, it pays off to stop and reflect, to become present to all that’s going on in your life. I suggest that you do the exercise of making the two lists: what’s going well and what’s not. After, combine them, and find how you can appreciate all that’s happening in your life. Even if you find the exercise hard to do, remember that the rewards will be great. So, this week – Thanksgiving week – what do you choose? Appreciation for what is or bitterness for what isn’t?

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