Paying Attention & Gratitude

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I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude. Brene Brown

The morning before Thanksgiving and I have a list of a million things to do as we get ready to host 15 family members for our annual event. It’s so easy to get swept up it the execution of all of the tasks and the chasing of the “perfect holiday,” that I end up in an exhausted heap at the end of the day wondering “what just happened?” 

I took this photograph during our trip to Buffalo this past summer. Traveling is another time when I tend to “chase the extraordinary” and go, go, go trying not to miss any of the sights a location has to offer. Luckily this summer, I fell in love with the work of landscape architect Frederick Olmsted again. We had traveled to St. Louis and then Buffalo and I spent time exploring the parks he designed and appreciating the impact they had on the communities. 

I paused to appreciate this cool flower variety that I hadn’t seen before and then realized that a whole other layer of activity was happening unbeknownst to most of us who weren’t paying attention. I sat mesmerized watching as bees moved from area to area of the flowers. I’m sure scientists that study bees could explain to me the reasons for their movements, but I didn’t need to know. I enjoyed watching and wondering and appreciating the beauty of it all. And patiently waiting for this moment to capture. 

I may have missed a few “Sights to See” in Buffalo that day by spending extra time in the park, but I feel a deeper connection to the city as a result and look forward to returning. I didn’t chase after elusive extraordinary moments, but instead connected with and appreciated what was in front of me. 

Which brings us back to Thanksgiving. Who needs extraordinary? And let’s throw perfect out with the potato peels. Whatever your version of the holiday looks like, remember to pause long enough to pay attention so you can enjoy more of it. 

For me that means:

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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