Posted by: Suzan | December 11, 2009

Want to Be Happy? Feel Grateful First.

To become happy, we must first become grateful. There is so much to be thankful for. If we take a few moments to look around us, how can we not feel this?

If we have our health, we have our wealth. We can be thankful for the magnificent machinery of our body –for our cells – for our hearts beating – for each breath. For the mysterious force which grants us life.

With our minds and creativity, we can express ourselves in the world. What pure pleasure to create, to think, to understand, to communicate, to share, to inspire, to encourage…..we have such abundance – do we realize it?

If we have our family and friends, we are truly blessed to be surrounded by this love. Many find it challenging during the holidays when we reflect on the loved ones we have lost. Having had many family members who have passed, including my parents, I do long for their presence. Yet I also feel gratitude in my heart for having had them in my life – for all of it, the pain and the joy. For so many lessons I carry forward.

If we take a few moments to look around us – there is beauty everywhere. In a flower, in a tree, in a butterfly, in a hummingbird – even in a leaf. If we take a few minutes to draw in nature’s boundless energy, it will restore us. For this too, we owe gratitude.

Whether we live in a home or an apartment, we can be thankful for our shelter. For a place to call our own. For the experiences we share in our sanctuaries – for our chance to decorate and create unique spaces. For the laughter which bounces off of our walls, releases our stress, and etches smile lines into our faces.

During the holidays in our frantic rush and concern over all the details, we may forget to be thankful for them. They bring us together. They remind us about community, celebration, and fun. In spite of the add-ons to our to-do lists, we have much to be grateful for. To gaze at the colorful holiday lights and to watch a bouncy child tear through her presents giggling with glee. To sit by the warm fire next to those so dear with hot cocoa or spiced cider – glory be!

I’ve learned to be grateful no matter what shows up. I write out what I’m grateful for every morning in my journal. One holiday season we had only recently moved into our temporary housing after the Cedar fires. Our home had burned, and we spent more than a year living elsewhere, rebuilding our home, and our lives. Yet now as I look around, I feel richly blessed. All things are new, all things are beautiful, all things we designed together as a couple. We had the chance to recreate our home into a masterpiece. Our initial pain brought forth so much to be thankful for. Like childbirth bringing forward an angel to love. Like the phoenix rising. We can be grateful for it all.


  1. What beautiful words on gratefulness – and I am grateful to have found your inspiring blog amongst so many! I will remember to write every day about being grateful, a new way to look at the world around me. Inside I feel grateful but to put these feelings into words means a deeper thankfulness. Thank you Suzan.


  2. You are so welcome Isa. The world will be a better place with your more grateful heart. There is so much to appreciate and it all begins with taking the time to notice it—as you are!


  3. Thanks for the informative information – I enjoyed reading it! I always enjoy this blog. 🙂 Cheers,


  4. Being grateful is to recognize that you have been provided with means to live and rejoice.. it will certainly help to control painful emotions or get over with negative thoughts..


    • Yes being grateful is the way to BE to fully appreciate our lives in every moment.



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