I just finished reading a book and it had a very strong reminder for me.  The book is Breakfast with Buddha.  If you’ve read it, I want to hear your thoughts so make sure you comment below.  The book is about a man named Otto who’s parents died suddenly.  Otto has to travel halfway across the country to settle the estate and his sister asks him to bring a monk along for the ride.  Now, Otto has never met this monk and in the beginning, doesn’t necessarily believe in everything the monk stands for.  Along the journey, Otto tries to show the monk a little bit of the American lifestyle – tourist spots, the beautiful scenery and of course, food.  A lot of this book is how tasty food is or can be.  On the other side, the monk also tries to show Otto a bit about his practices.  They have to stop along the route at speaking engagements and while Otto resists learning, he comes around.  In the end, Otto learns a lot and realizes he needs to look at life differently.  Very differently.

The book had a very strong message for me.  And no, it wasn’t about practicing religion or becoming a buddhist.  The message for me was about gratitude.  That word is pretty big.  And most people, including myself, don’t take time to actually think about being grateful.  Think of the food you ate today.  Was it good?  Did it have flavor?  Do you even remember what you ate?  Were you grateful for the meal?  I remember what I ate, but. I definitely can’t say I took the time to be grateful for being able to buy breakfast and lunch and be fed.  Let’s think of it another way.

Most of us have cell phones.  Smart phones, at that.  We use them throughout the day, off and on, and some of us use them more than others.  When they stop working, we freak out!  The volume doesn’t work, the screen is cracked and your favorite app doesn’t open.  Ok, here’s the deal.  Why do we freak out?  This is a material thing and in all honesty, it’s not a priority.  Think of our parents or grandparents.  They didn’t have cell phones and they got by just fine.  I like to call this “First World Problems”…you may have heard of this phrase.  Do you use it?  I use it jokingly but it’s true.  This is a true problem.

Instead of thinking of all the bad or negative things that happen, let’s try to think of it differently.  With your food, savor every bite.  Experience all the flavors by eating slow and enjoying it.  But not too much.  With your modern day life, be grateful that you can have a smart phone.  Some people can’t even afford such a luxury.  With your friends and family, be present and live in the moment.  Enjoy your time with them.  Laugh a little.

My challenge to you is to start thinking of at least one thing to be grateful for each day and increase over time.  Start paying attention to the world around you – the colors, the smells, the senses on your skin.  And say thank you…a lot!  Start tonight!  Comment below with a moment of gratitude from today.  I’ll start…