Gratitude Requires Us Not to Run On Auto-Pilot
In May of last year, I wrote a passage on gratitude. It was at the time I was starting my company Red Bicycle Books.
I’ll admit I’m an avid bike rider though I certainly don’t look like a professional. If you see me riding in the neighborhood I won’t be wearing colorful spandex that sticks to my body like another layer of skin, but rather shorts and a T-shirt with a blue plastic bike helmet pedaling my red bicycle.
There are many things I enjoy about bike riding. For one, the simple pleasure of accelerating at a slower pace has me pause and digest the scenery on my two-wheeled excursion. From watching the birds, kids playing outside, squirrels rambling together either searching for or burying their meals, I realize I probably wouldn’t get a first-hand account of what life is bouncing around me driving a car.
The second thing I enjoy about bike riding is the exercise—watching my atrophied muscles really pump, propelling me forward hopefully working off a heavy breakfast. I suppose it is a reminder of life in a way, the moving forward part—at times it is slow and grueling, but we are always chasing ahead and not behind.
When I was bedridden, I spent much time thinking about getting back on my bike again. I had a post card picture of a red bicycle near my bed I would stare at every morning to motivate me to keep fighting. In fact, I still keep it there as a friendly reminder of how far I've come.
I had a philosophical moment though I didn’t place sand in my hand, watching an hourglass flip. It wasn’t as spectacular or pictorial as such, but I took a step back to realize everything I have, that many of us—me included at times—take for granted. A warm bed, snuggling with a favorite pet, clean and running water, food that satisfies the taste buds as well as the tummy, electricity, a hot shower, you get my drift. Anyway, what if those things just suddenly disappeared?
Having gratitude is certainly an attitude, one that requires a level of perception to admire what I have—requiring us not to run like our furnaces—on auto-pilot, but rather pausing and acknowledging what we have each and every day including the faces in our lives that make life a tad bit sweeter.
In a world we live in that appears at times to be in a constant state of go go go, today I invite you to savor your first bite of food just a little longer, enjoy the sensation of the warm water running over your hands, hug a loved one with a full embrace or send a text to someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
Keep calm and pedal on. Whether you ride a red bicycle or not…I’m cheering for you.