Tag Archives: Gratitude

31 Days of Adventure: Finding ways to change your perspective

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Adventure can happen anywhere, any time. Even today. To remind us of the adventure in everything, Amy Christensen and Lydia Whitehead have created 31 Days of Adventure, in which every day in January, they send out a prompt to their subscribers reminding them of ways to find adventure.

So far, I have  Noticed the Little Things, Mapped out a New Route and Pulled out a $10 Word.

Thanks to 31 Days I’ve seen how easy it is to get stuck in a routine. Even living up in the mountains, where weather and snow conditions change constantly, I’m more aware now of how my routines separate my head from the rest of my body.

Every day can be an adventure

Standing in front of my locker each morning I don my equipment in the same order–first I punch in, then I attach my radio to my harness, then I turn my transceiver on and stick it in my pocket. I get my skis from their slot beside my locker and put them outside, then I put on my ski boots. I wait for the bathroom to be free so I can sneak in before the morning meeting.

I do this almost every day, and sometimes it feels like my body moves without my knowledge. 20 minutes later, I’m listening to the morning weather briefing and wondering where my head has been.

The daily prompts from 31 Days of Adventure keep my head in the game by breaking up my routine, opening up another perspective, allowing me to see my daily tasks in a slightly new way. Sometimes all it takes is a tiny shift in viewpoint to change my outlook. On Monday I wrote about how seeing my daily hike up The King from the eyes of my step-daughter changed my attitude and opened me up to joy and gratitude.

Check out Amy and Lydia’s 31 Days of Adventure. Sign up for the newsletter and get a prompt in your inbox for the next few weeks. And see if you don’t also open up in surprising ways.

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Liver Day: An anniversary of gratitude

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Friday was Liver Day at our house. Exactly three years ago John

Liver Donor Hero, Whitney Meriwether

received his liver transplant. Approximately one-half of Whitney’s, the living donor’s, liver was surgically removed and placed in John’s abdomen. I remember the day at the Mayo Clinic in the waiting room, imagining the surgeons meticulously slicing and tying, opening and sealing back up. I visualized all the cancer,

Whitney and John, post transplant

including John’s bile ducts, getting thrown in the garbage bin beside the operating table.

I would like to say that in the three years since John’s transplant, we’ve lived every day as well as we possibly could. While that’s not exactly true, it’s pretty close. We have made a ritual of gratitude, voicing all the tiny and grand things that we are grateful for every day. Spontaneity has ruled around here.

Skydiving

We’ve learned to surf, we’ve jumped out of an airplane, we’ve traveled to Bhutan and Costa

John checking the depth

Rica, we’ve logged in some serious powder turns.

Going forward I want to keep this momentum going. Life is precious. This miniscule little flame we are given must be tended and appreciated. It’s brief, but brilliant, and I hope we don’t miss any of it. I hope the angel of gratitude always sits at our table.

It’s easy to rack up transcendent moments, if you simply look around and appreciate them.

What about you? What are you grateful for today?

Keep it Awesome!

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I’m here to tell you that even the most exciting life can become routine.  It’s a bit like the concept of the hedonic treadmill (where while a person gains more wealth, his or her expectations also rise, offering no overall gain in happiness).  But it can happen even when you aren’t wealthy. 

In a recent conversation with a friend–a professional floatplane pilot–she told me that even during her “routine” flights to Washington State’s beautiful San Juan Islands, she has to remind herself to look around, to notice the Olympic Mountains shimmering in the distance, to tip the wings just enough to let her passengers see the orca whales in the water below.  Sometimes it’s their appreciation that offers the reminder.

I know what she means.

My husband flies our floatplane to our fishing cabin in Canada.  Last time we flew up there, his mother joined us.  At one point, she looked at me, her eyes round as Canadian “twoonies”, and said, “Have you ever seen a place more beautiful than this?  I mean, have you?” 

She was serious.

And I had to try not to shrug.  The three hour flight had almost become routine to me.  Which, I realize, is a problem.

We all do it.  Even the most coveted, sought-after material items lose their appeal after a time.  Same goes for a lifestyle.  Or a new car.  Once you drive that fabulous new Mercedes off the lot, it can lose its wow-factor even faster than its new car smell.  Because it becomes routine.  It’s the hedonic treadmill.  Things don’t make us happy.  At least not for very long. 

The high we get from experiences, on the other hand, are supposed to last.  But what if your job is flying floatplanes or controlling avalanches with explosives?  Or what if you just have a job that’s paying the mortgage?  That alone is a coveted possession these days. 

But the satisfaction doesn’t last.  No matter how awesome the job, or the life, or the family, or the whatever, when you do it every day, it becomes routine.

So how do we avoid this?  Must we amp it up ever higher, trying newer, more exciting escapades at every turn?  Like the Mercedes driver, must we constantly refill our quota just to stay in the same place?  Should we accumulate sports and vacations like others do coins?  I don’t think so.

The answer is to keep it awesome.  And how do you do this?  How do you bring the awesome back? 

One way: gratitude.

Everyday show some gratitude.  Tell others you’re grateful for their presence in your life.  Remind yourself what you are grateful for.  Declare it to the world.  By reminding ourselves about what we have, we delay, perchance even avoid, the dreaded routine. 

Keep it awesome.