One of the most important things I've learned as a songwriter is the importance of "letting a song breathe". And by that we mean to allow space in the song to give the listener tiny moments to digest what they're hearing. Its almost equally as important as the music itself. There's your tiny insider secret for the day. But there's a bigger secret I want to let you in on.
In the same fashion as the importance of space in a song can be, likewise, the art of gratitude is to our work and lives.
It sounds like such a simple thing I know. How is being thankful an art? I hear your thoughts from this keyboard as I type. Let's see if I can answer your questions.
Yes, gratitude is an art if you do it right. And there is indeed a right way to be grateful in my humble opinion. Gratitude often occurs when its put in our face that we should be thankful. Someone helps you out, you say thank you. That is what I call social gratitude. And its good to have, but its the smaller part of the overall concept.
The gratitude I speak of is the self reflecting kind. Its those moments you take in while drinking your coffee and watching your kid play and say to yourself "thank God I have a healthy, happy kid." Its those moments that keep us human. Its those moments that keep us humble. Its those subtle moments that ground our being and allow us to continue to grow. Because its the realization that your whole life can be flipped upside down in an instant. You're one phone call or car drive away from your life changing forever. I don't say that to be grim, I say that just so you realize in this very moment how grateful we should all be for being alive and having this conversation. I know I am.
Much like writing a song, you have to find the space in your life to practice this gratitude. You have to find the silence in between the notes. And that's not always easy to do, especially when things aren't going your way. But its in those moments where we can find the most things to be grateful for. And finding that is a learned art. Its much like finding the light switch in a dark room with your eyes closed. It takes time to learn where that switch is in the dark. But over time you learn how to find it quicker.
The last part to the art of gratitude is the gift of kindness. Its great to be thankful, but if you can show your gratitude through action it makes it that much more effective. It can be as simple as a phone call out of the blue to tell someone thank you. It doesn't always have to be a grand gesture, but those are cool to do from time to time as well. This feeds our souls such good nourishment and you also spread that positivity onto someone else. Its a win, win.
I'll end this on a personal note. What brought me to write about this was hearing the news my grandparents old home was being torn down. And I can't be there to see it one last time. And as much as that pains my heart, I am bursting with gratitude for what I learned in that house growing up. Love, respect, honor, pride, and of course how to truly be thankful. I've written about this before and that house is a symbol of my entire family. I'm terribly sad to see it go, but my hope is that in its stead someone is able to build a home where they can raise their family with such love as my grandparents did.
The memories of that house play in my mind like an old reel to reel movie with no sound. The pictures so vivd in my mind. That's the silence I can always find between the notes that I'm so happy have stuck with me all these years. They continue to ground me in my journey and I hope you have something you're as thankful for today as well.
Listening to "Yesterday" by The Beatles