Gratitude and Awareness
Some FISH! Phil-osophy thoughts from our own Phil Strand, co-author of FISH! Tales and Schools of FISH!:
Thanksgiving reminds us to count our blessings. Being grateful feels satisfying and filling, like a slice of turkey and a warm piece of pumpkin pie. But how do we remember to choose that kind of attitude the rest of the year?
Gratitude starts with seeing the entire picture. Many day-to-day problems seem larger than they really are because our focus is so narrow. Mark Lenz, a long-time FISH! Philosopher, says when a situation upsets him, he gives himself “a little self-talk” about all the good things in his life. This “wide-view” perspective helps him to pull back and see that in the big picture, the situation that upsets him is tiny compared to all the good that surrounds it.
That kind of awareness is easier when you stay in the present. Often our unhappiness is caused by anger about the past or worry about the future. Awareness lives in the present: What is happening inside me right now? Is it working for me? Is it working for others? Is it in line with who I want to be?
To be aware takes hard work; that’s why its synonyms are vigilant, awake, alert and watchful. But it’s worth it. The more you stay aware of everything that’s important in your life—the people you love and the values you hold dear—the easier it will be for you to be grateful for them (and to live in a way that honors them).