By Teri A. Coutu
While many people are starting their day today sitting around a tree, opening wrapped presents, many of which have been purchased from a large online or brick-and-mortar store filled with mass-produced items, it is important to recognize some of the gifts life provides.
As I was creating this list, I was reminded just how fortunate we are. So many wonderful gifts are part of our everyday lives, and yet rarely do we think about how remarkable they are, and how privileged we are. I also realized that, while I generally avoid clichés, some of the commonplace sayings ARE very true.
- Family – We learn so much from our families. They give us our first view of the world. We learn from them what is good and bad in life, although sometimes from contrary experiences. Whether we have a good relationship with our family, or bad, they give us a basis on which to build a life.
- Friends – True friends are truly rare, and we are incredibly fortunate to have even one true friend in a lifetime. Knowing that you have someone in your corner, even on your worst day, who provides encouragement and support, and listens and laughs with you – that IS a gift you give yourself.
- Nature – From the smallest ladybug to the largest mountain, nature is awe-inspiring. Raindrops. Sunshine. Shade trees. Eggs. Loving pets. Grassy fields. Soft sandy beaches. A gentle breeze. A brilliant snowflake. Flowers. Playful dolphins. Fruit. Waterfalls…The list can go on and on, and no other explanation is necessary.
- Free Will – We have the ability to choose what we want to think and say, believe and dismiss. While there may be a variety of constraints that can hold us back physically or intangibly, we decide whether to follow the laws and norms, and how we want to respond to the world around us. We are free to determine how we choose to see our lives and our selves, and that is incredibly powerful.
- Humor – There are few things as joyous as a body-shaking, tear-producing, cant-catch-your-breath laugh. Amusing, entertaining, and a sense of joy in its purest form, humor provides us with a jovial reprieve from the mundane. Imagine life without it and you’ll realize just how priceless it is.
- Time – As much as time can be an adversary, it can also be a gift. Time allows us to grow, create, and love. Time provides a start and an end, and offers the space in between for added substance. A single moment in time can introduce us to the love of our life, create future generations, and change the course of our existence. Every instant provides opportunity, if nothing else, to learn.
- Intellect – They say having the ability to think and deduce, rationalize, analyze, and problem-solve puts us at an advantage over other life forms. But, the benefits of intellect do more than put us at the top of the food chain. To be able to think give us freedom, for thought allows creativity, dreaming, invention, and remembrance.
- Silence – While it is becoming a rare commodity, silence is a precious gift. In silence, we can escape the cacophony of sounds that interrupt our internal peace. Silence helps our body and soul heal, and connects us to our true life force. The scientific “proof” of this is still under debate, but sit in a noiseless room for a while every day and see what happens.
- Love – This list would not be complete without love, for it “makes the world go ‘round.” Whether deep and life-long, or new and fleeting, in-love, friendly love, or “I love my dog” – love is an energy that makes us alive, and being alive allows us to receive the wonderful gifts available.