It's 7:38 A.M., and I see beyond my window that it's another gray, rainy day. I remind myself that recent rainy and occasional sunny days have turned grass and trees green after a long and sometimes brutal winter here in Minnesota.
In the meantime, bouquets of peach-colored carnations in my entry way and living room still brighten my home several days after I bought them at the local supermarket, where I buy both food for my body and occasionally food for my soul.
Early morning is my time for writing in my journal, reading spiritual material, and meditating. It's a quiet time in my huge seniors' apartment building: as yet, no grocery carts are rumbling down the halls, and I hear no sounds of conversation and laughter from neighbors visiting with one another while taking out the trash.
Appreciation for my early morning quiet time began years ago when I was married and had two young children. I got up an hour or two before my family rose to gather at the breakfast table. After which, we went our separate ways to work or to school.
Over time, I've become increasingly grateful for my habit of rising early that continues to bless me with opportunities to journal, meditate, and read spiritual books, such as Donald Altman's One Minute Mindfulness, which I'm currently reading.
Speaking of gratitude, Altman writes (pp. 36-37):
“Gratitude is a potent vaccine that inoculates us against negativity. If you are feeling any kind of negative emotion, you can counteract it in the next sixty seconds by noticing something for which you are grateful. Use the next minute to ask others what they are grateful for. Gratitude is a means of overcoming short-term pleasure seeking. It lets us tap into deeper and more sustainable ways of experiencing fulfillment. Besides, when we're grateful for what we already have, we don't have a reason to be disappointed."