All the pictures in this post were taken by me on my morning walk on the Greenway Trail in Gastonia, North Carolina. This Autumn was spectacular, and I was awed and filled with gratitude for every falling leaf.
It is easy sometimes to be grateful for the big stuff. It's right there up in our face, getting our attention. We are more accustomed, and conditioned, to remembering to be thankful for the big things. But, developing a rich and deep sense of gratitude is well informed by taking time to give the small stuff the same focus and attention.
Ask yourself the question, "How conscious and present am I in my daily activities." By starting this inquiry into yourself you will invite awareness and mindfulness into your life on a new level. You many find yourself stopping much more often during your day to really "take in" what is happening in that particular moment: what are you looking at? what can you hear? touch? smell? With these moments of clarity come an expansive sense of child-like wonder. You may feel as if you are experiencing many things for the first time. It's like walking down a brand new, beautiful path.
While you continue this beautiful awareness inquiry, add also a moment to pause, and say a prayer of gratitude for what you have discovered in this moment. This will be easy with the lovely things you come across, but I encourage you to try to address your prayers of thanks also to the troubling and challenging occurences; paying them due homage as the great teachers that they are.