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Expressing Gratitude For What One Does Not Want and Does Not Have

Over the years, expressing gratitude has become a key component of my mindfulness practice. Besides dedicating structured time to write down what I am grateful for on a daily basis, I have previously written about the benefits I have felt from expressing gratitude spontaneously.

Something I have been exploring of late is expressing gratitude for what one does not want and does not have. Although we are prone to express gratitude for what is, doing so for what is not, is less common (but arguably just as effective). That is exactly the wisdom I stumbled upon while recently rereading Chronicles by Bob Dylan. In the book, Dylan recounts how his grandma once reminded him to be grateful for all that he doesn’t want and also does not have.

The lesson stuck with Dylan, and it sure has stuck with me. Since reading it, I have tried to incorporate this powerful wisdom of expressing gratitude for what is not into my mindfulness practice. For instance, as a musician, something I would not want and also do not have is an injury to my hands such that I can no longer play.

Building this practice of expressing gratitude towards “what is not” has been a great way to bring awareness to all the light life offers.


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