Grat Friday - Glorious AutumnI just finished watching a live webcast from Georgetown University about the future of Afghan women and girls, where speakers Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Laura Bush talked about the importance of women in establishing a secure and prosperous Afghanistan once U.S. troops leave. My son, a freshman at Georgetown, got in line at 3:30 this morning to get a seat in the hall and watch this important discussion live. I’m truly filled with gratitude by this morning’s program:

First, I’m so grateful to live in a country where women have equal rights and opportunities as citizens. One of the most moving quotes was attributed to a member of an Afghan women’s group: “Society is like a bird. It has two wings. And a bird cannot fly if one wing is broken. Let us resolve to ensure that all societies fly with both wings, of equal strength and with equal dignity.”

Second, it was refreshing and inspiring to see leaders come together on an issue in a nonpartisan way. There was so much agreement on how to move forward in a united effort on behalf of Afghanistan and its women. It’s something we need to work harder on in our own country.

Third, I’m overwhelmed by the opportunities my college student has to see and hear from world leaders about important issues, and so grateful he is at a school that fits him so well. What an amazing way to learn and grow.

And that’s just what I’m grateful for on Friday! Here’s what I felt blessed by earlier this week:

Autumn has been absolutely glorious here in the northeast. I was treated to the most beautiful sunset one evening and got to look out over Central Park, with it’s lush fall foliage, on a stunningly sunny day this week. Nature is indeed breathtaking.

Autumn Sunset - Version 4

My siblings and their kids came for a sleepover last weekend. What a blessing to be able to spend unprogrammed time with everyone, and an extra-special treat for a mom of all boys to be able to have girl time with my sister and nieces, doing hair and nails!

One strategy I’ve learned about from my gratitude research is that it’s possible to increase your own level of gratitude by thinking about someone who has it worse than you. Never has that lesson been more clear than this week. In this case, it’s not a person who has come upon unfortunate or tragic circumstances; rather it’s someone who spends an alarming amount of time and energy being angry, unhappy and perpetually ungrateful. A person who has the evilness to take a new, sweet teddy bear away from a young child and throw it in the trash. Literally. Can you imagine being so cruel as to break a child’s heart like that and so cold as to put an innocent furry teddy bear into the garbage? With its cute face and floppy arms and loving soul? This is someone who is long past pity, so I instead take the opportunity to feel gratitude for the happy life that I’m blessed to have and the warm, full heart I was so fortunate to be granted. I’m also filled with gratitude that this toxic human being is not a part of my life anymore—and I’m especially grateful for the love and laughter that has returned to my life since this person’s departure.

 It gave me goosebumps to see The Eagles at Madison Square Garden last weekend. It had been on my bucket list forever, and it was as thrilling as I had hoped. The amazing music is still playing in my head, almost a week later—just little snippets of different songs at random moments throughout the day—and it always makes me smile to remember such an enchanting evening.

What are you grateful for today?

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