Soaking up memories (can we ever be grateful enough?)

I remember as kids, my older sister Debbie and I would often say we felt like we couldn't sufficiently "soak up" the bliss of the six-week Christmas school holidays. It was like we couldn't physically squeeze enough appreciation out of those lovely long carefree days. We wanted more than anything for time to slow down to nothing, and for every juicy moment to last at least twice as long. But it never did.

I was reminded of this decades-old wish of ours yesterday on Thanksgiving. We stayed in a cabin at the breathtakingly beautiful Sundance Mountain Resort here in Utah. As if by magic, the snow started falling as the sun set, and it stayed with us all night so that by morning we were greeted with a wintery wonderland. The kids went berserk in the new snow, and we all tried to enjoy every blessed moment of the morning. It was so pretty, it hurt our eyes. 

Of course, Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for what we have, but yesterday with the snow and the food and the family all together, it felt like too much to take in. Too much to be grateful for. Almost too much abundance set before us. 

And I was back feeling like I couldn't sufficiently soak up the bliss, just like I did as a kid. And so I started thinking:

How do we take in all the goodness in our lives – when our baby is born, or when he takes his first steps, or when we get engaged or married, or we spend a great night drinking bubbles with our best friends? How do we squeeze into our hearts the thrills of winning an award, or reaching a goal, or going to a place we've always dreamed of going? Those times when you fear your heart or mind might explode?

Is it through mindfulness (really being in the moment)?

Is it through constantly expanding our hearts and minds to take in more and more beautiful memories?

Is it through counting our blessings many times a day so that we can remember all the goodness we get to enjoy (even if it feels like there are only really small things on really bad days)?

Is it through giving back, sharing our abundance, helping others to have better days?

Is it about deeply recognising that we deserve all this goodness, and believing that even more will come our way?

I think it's probably all of these.

There is so much talk about gratitude lately, but sometimes when life presents me with really big beautiful moments, I wonder how I can possibly be grateful enough ... how I can possibly soak up all the blessings.

I don't know.

Some Sundance memories ... 


A terrific new book on gratitude comes from best selling author Pam Grout: Thank and grow rich. Pam has a lot of answers.



Natalie Bartley