This past Fall, we shared a wonderful experience practicing gratitude in our office. We created a large Gratitude Tree on the wall of our Therapy Changes office in Rancho Bernardo. Everyone who entered our office was encouraged to take a moment to invite gratitude into their hearts and minds. It was a moment to reflect. It was a moment to identify what one felt grateful for, large or small. Each person, if they wished, wrote the point of their gratitude on a paper leaf and placed it on the tree.
The tree began as a large white trunk with mighty but barren branches. As the days moved forward, leaves began to appear on the tree. Each day, it warmed the hearts of all to walk in and saw more leaves placed on the branches. As autumn leaves fell from the trees outside, our Gratitude Tree was flourishing with messages of hope, comfort, and thankfulness. It was like watching the magnificent, slow motion bloom of a flower.
The tree included messages from all ages and from people who are walking a variety of journeys in their lives. It was inspiring to read the things that people appreciate and are thankful for, even when in the midst of difficulty. It was also inspiring to witness how gratitude can increase resiliency and hope as well as shift perspective on one’s own life.
Here is a sampling of the leaves that were placed on the Gratitude Tree:
“I am grateful for the light and the dark, the sun and the rain”
“I am thankful for a roof over my head, clean clothes and a good education”
“Thankful for my family, friends and positive influences”
“For waking up everyday in a nice bed”
“I am thankful for my friends, family and all my toys”
“I am thankful for Imagination for without it, life would be dull”
“I am thankful for my family and friends. I am also thankful for the people helping me through life! Life is hard, you know”
Thank you to everyone who participated in our Gratitude Tree. There were many messages of gratitude for family, friends, and the basic necessities of life. These messages help identify what feels important and essential in life. When we are able to identify and appreciate these essentials it helps to shift perspective and increase hope, positivity, and resilience.
I invite you to find your own way to practice gratitude, be it a tree in your home, a journal, or a daily reflection. Dare to experience the benefits of practicing gratitude!