By Laura Mills

The first week of May is one of the year’s most special times for me, being the anniversary of the day I first met my daughter. Two years ago this week I was in China introducing myself to a 17-month-old little girl whom the universe had predestined for my family….  The moment I met her and began my journey as her mommy is the moment of most profound gratitude in my life. And even though the many moments since then—parenting and otherwise—have included innumerable challenges and even great heartache, I can always recall that moment in China and tap into gratitude so big that I can’t help but feel my soul smiling.

This week, at the beginning of each class, I’ve invited my students to bring to mind something that elicits gratitude within them. From there, we’ve practiced heart opening in honor of that gratitude but also to remind us of our ability to shine out our joy. For big or small, we all keep and cherish our moments of gratitude.  Sometimes they’re in our conscious thoughts and sometimes they’re in our mind’s quiet places, but always those moments germinate joy. By setting an intention of gratitude for our day-to-day lives, I believe we nurture that joy until it literally shines out of us in the form of expressions, words, actions, and interactions.

Nobody’s life is “perfect” or devoid of sadness and hardship. But everybody’s life, regardless, contains moments of gratitude. Take a moment each and every day, no matter what else is happening in your life, to practice gratitude for SOMETHING. The joy will sprout, grow, and bloom, becoming something beautiful you can then easily give back to the world.