“I am here, and it is now.” An enlightening approach to discovering what you are truly grateful for.


Thanksgiving is approaching. This is a time when we often take a moment to reflect on what we are thankful for. Although I enjoy seeing all of the signs, coffee mugs, and memes that say, “Grateful,” and “I am thankful for…,” I am aware that this period of gratitude can sometimes become fleeting. We move on from Thanksgiving, and the "Thankful for..." mugs turn into "Happy Holidays" mugs. During this time, we may experience a shift from feeling thankful to feeling pressure and stress. This is why I believe in the importance of recognizing and soaking in moments of daily gratitude that are presented to us each and every day.

When I was younger, my father used to tell me, “I am here, and it is now.” I remember on our camping trips while hiking in the woods, he would ask me, “Where are we?” I would reply, “We are here.” He would then ask me, “What time is it?” I would answer, “It is now.”

My younger self did not understand the power of these words. “We are here, and it is now.” However, now I find this phrase to be profound.

I recently watched a video on YouTube that walks you through a presentation of staying mindful of life’s daily blessings. A moment of mindfulness might include looking up at the clouds and viewing them as if it were the first time, or the last time, you have seen them. The video describes today as not being like every other day. Today is today, and right now is this moment. What in this moment do you notice and observe? To experience this for yourself, here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zl9puhwiyw&t=75s

It is called, “A Good Day,” with Brother David Steindl-Rast. What I took from this video is the message of, “I am here, and it is now.” Taking in the overall messages from the video, and using this phrase as a personal mantra, I have discovered my personal meaning of “mindfulness.” I have discovered what it means to truly be grateful.

Not only do I notice moments throughout the day that I did not pay attention to before, but I also soak in those moments and take pleasure in them. A perfect example of this is when I come home from work and am greeted by my cat. My typical pattern was to sit on the ground, take my phone out, return texts and check social media, as my cat purrs away and rubs on me to be petted. Although I was petting him and giving him the attention he wanted, I was not embracing this moment. I have since changed this pattern, and now when I sit on the ground with him, I focus solely on the experience of being present with him. I close my eyes when I pet him, and I listen to his purr. I notice how soft his fur is, and how his purr slows my heart rate, and my thoughts. I open my eyes to look into his, and I always notice that my heart melts. “I am here, and it is now. I have this moment, and this is not like every other moment."

I encourage you to watch the YouTube video I have shared and think about your own personal moments of mindfulness, gratitude, and being in the here and now. With Thanksgiving approaching and many spending time to give thanks, I encourage you to reflect on what you can be grateful for moment-to-moment. For me, this has been truly enlightening.

#MentalHealth #Selfcare

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Photo taken by Monica Coulter in McKinney, Texas, 2016.

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