My husband and I were just coming back from a beautiful wedding. We were talking about the power of love and how inspiring the event had been. We love to dance, and had even had the chance to dance for hours.  As we got closer to home, our conversation turned to budgets and bills. I don’t know why. Suddenly our minds became focused on the large amount of unexpected expenses that had come our way in the last month. Our brains started running on overdrive trying to figure how it was all gonna work out. The mood turned foul, and the ride became silent.

It is interesting how quickly that can happen. Our focus can become what we have vs what we want, where we are vs where we want to be, how we feel vs. how we want to feel.

In the moment that I started focusing on my worry, and I got super annoyed. I wondered how this had happened. Was going to be a trend? I stopped being present to all the things in my life that work. I got stuck in “scarcity land”.

So, what happened? My husband and I sat in the driveway until we were restored to appreciation for each other. We talked through our concerns and annoyance about the expenses. Then we expressed our mutual appreciation for each other. I thanked him for dealing with my freak out. He thanked me for my partnership. We both felt loved and grateful in that moment.

On Monday morning, I rushed off to my first appointment present to how much I love my little car La-La. When I got to the appointment, it was cold outside so I put my hands in my pockets and found $25. I had no recollection of where it came from. It was a fun unexpected gift. I said out to the universe, “Thank you.” Because of the fun find, I went to the grocery store to buy a couple of higher priced items we took off the budget. When I was walking into the grocery store, I saw a quarter on the ground. I could have left it sitting there, but I picked it up and said “Thank you” again. The total at checkout was $25.20. It felt a bit like I got a free trip to the grocery store.

The next day someone offered to pay his invoice a week early, and a client I haven’t seen in ages scheduled a last minute appointment. I sent a thank you text to a client I love in the space of gratitude, and he replied with scheduling an appointment.

I am not saying that being grateful alone changed the circumstances (it doesn’t hurt). I still had to reach into the pocket of my jeans and text my client. But when we are restored to being grateful, we recognize more things to be grateful for.  Like how I saw $25.25 as a windfall instead of money misplaced in my jeans and a discarded the quarter. Gratitude is very powerful. When we feel that gratitude deep in our bones, it has the power to shift our experience of life.

I love doing simple practices for gratitude like… Close your eyes and think of one thing or person that you are grateful for. It can be something small like discarded quarter. A meter maid who skipped your car. Appreciation for the barista who made your coffee. It just needs to be true and authentic for you.

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”  Elizabeth Gilbert