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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Monday, November 19, 2012
Express Grace by guest blogger Marney K. Makridakis

What does gratitude have to do with managing your time?
Maybe more than you might think . . .

In external time, objects depreciate over time. What if we could live so that objects, relationships, and feelings appreciated over time, our appreciation literally expanding their meaning? What would it mean to measure time by appreciation and gratitude? What if feeling more gratitude could actually help us expand our sense of time, especially in those moments when we feel like there’s not enough of it?

Gratitude bridges the entire time continuum, from the past through the present into the future. Gratitude helps us to remember what matters most as we make the present memorable, casting a light of hopeful expectation for what is to come. In our busy day-to-day lives, we tend to focus on the big events in time rather than the quiet, moment-to-moment passages. We look toward deadlines, departures and arrivals, paydays, launch dates, and appointments, all the while forgetting that the slowly ticking clock is part of the entire time continuum. Gratitude helps us to unify the loud hourly clock chime with the soft, barely perceptible second-hand tick. It allows us to adjust our temporal depth perception, not only in how deeply we see time but also in how deeply it affects us. Every moment contains a gift, if we turn our attention to see it.

When I was a child, our family dinners always began with a grace that my parents created for us to all sing together. Now, as I am raising my own family, we are starting our own traditions for grace at mealtime. When my son, Kai, was not even a year old, he learned that when our little family sat down to eat and we told him it was time for grace, we all held hands. Since he got accustomed to our praising him after saying grace, he very quickly became content to keep his hands in ours for only a few seconds and then would immediately let go, clapping his hands wildly and laughing out loud in celebration. Of course, this adorable demonstration shortened the time that we said grace, because inevitably my husband, Tony, and I would start cracking up and join in Kai’s celebratory antics. But this new grace, though brief in time, reminded us of what gratitude is all about. Gratitude is a time to wildly celebrate, to clap our hands and say “Yay!” for all the ordinary and extraordinary things that bless our lives.

We called this quickened experience “express grace,” a term that has become part of our family vernacular. Express grace reminds us that gratitude doesn’t take a lot of time, and true appreciation is qualitative, not quantitative. It reminds us that we can measure our time by focusing on its quality rather than exhaustively chasing after its quantity. True grace, and the most important times, are measured in meaning, not in minutes.

Marney K. Makridakis is the author of Creating Time and founder of, the groundbreaking online community for creators of all kinds. A popular speaker and workshop leader, she created the ARTbundance approach of self-discovery through creativity.


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