When I was in my early 20s I started what has become a personal tradition of reflecting on what I’m grateful for at the end of each year. It’s a natural time for this kind of reflection, as the days begin to lengthen once again and the promise and freshness of the new year approaches.
Gratitude is a powerful practice. Shifting our attention toward what we’re thankful for and what we appreciate, rather than what’s lacking or missing, can profoundly affect the quality of our lives. Frankly, this isn’t something that comes easily to me; on the contrary, I’m some what of a connoisseur of “what’s wrong” in the world and in my own life.
So the end of the year is a good time to remind myself of how important gratitude is. And this year I thought it would be a good idea to share what I’m grateful for with you, and ask you to share what you’re grateful for with this community. This is not the same as “positive thinking; it’s consciously shifting our attention to what we are thankful for and choosing to cultivate the emotions that we experience in that appreciation.
Here’s what I am grateful for as 2012 comes to a close:
– My family. I’m blessed to have a kind, wise and unconditionally loving wife that I can share both the joy and pain of life with, and who supports me in so many ways. And I am head-over-heels in love with my daughter Sylvie, who continues to stretch the boundaries of my heart until I feel it will explode!
– My health. 10 years ago I was still so sick I could hardly work or function. Today I have a successful practice, a wonderful family and an active life.
– You. I wake up every day feeling excited about the work I do, and without you, that would not be possible. I’m so thankful for this thriving community of people dedicated to improving their own health and helping others to do the same. I truly feel that we have the potential to change the world, and I’m grateful to be a part of such a smart, passionate and caring group of “revolutionaries”!
– My patients. It’s an amazing gift to be able to use my knowledge and experience to serve others. Seeing a patient that has been sick for years get their health and their life back – when they had all but given up hope – is the most rewarding work I can imagine doing.
– An ancestral perspective. The more I learn about health and medicine, the more grateful I am for how an evolutionary perspective informs my approach. There are some questions that can’t be answered and contradictions that can’t be resolved with modern clinical science; studying ancestral health can fill in the gaps.
– Real food. We’re blessed to live in an area with a strong local food movement. We get our beef and pork directly from a farmer in Sebastopol. We get our A2 raw milk from a farmer in Santa Rosa. We buy our produce from vendors at the farmer’s market. I can’t imagine living in a place where this fresh, natural food isn’t available.
Now I’d like to hear from you. What are you grateful for this year? What changes have you seen in your health? Who in your life are you thankful for? What accomplishments are you proud of? What else in your life do you appreciate?