A few days ago, a friend mentioned that she thought it rather tragic that individuals were publicly writing the many things they feel gratitude towards online as there were so many people who had so little by comparison. After all, the reasoning went, what does a homeless person have to be grateful for…? And more so, doesn’t all of this Gratitude business cause others to feel lessened by contrast.
It took me a small while to analyze the purpose of being grateful, what it means to feel it, what it means to convey it, and the gift it brings to the one who communicates it, and often to the one who receives the words. Is gratitude a way of clinging to things in the hopes they won’t be taken from our gripping hands? Is it a mere passing of words many struggle with because they want more than what they have, or find little to be thankful for during moments of scarcity or distress?
Gratitude, as I’ve come to understand her, is warm awareness, a moment taken to appreciate anything that can be seen as a gift, often times things which have not been earned (such as the air that we breathe). Gratitude is a wonderous feeling, elusive to describe, yet rich and warm and full of kindness and love. Gratitude finds the good,
seeks the tiny everyday which can be overlooked and taken for granted, and cherishes and exalts.
Yes, certainly, we are grateful for “things”. And some have great big expensive things to be grateful for. And some have wishes come true to be grateful for. Some of us may be grateful, for a cup of coffee in the morning, our trusty pair of warm socks, or the books we’ve read and enjoyed over the years. And it is very wonderful to be grateful for these things, of course. But the practice and mindfulness of Gratitude includes and begins with much more than our possessions, necessities, and luxuries.
The feeling of Gratitude encompasses the people who have crossed our path, past and present. It embraces our senses, our breathing, our moments of laughter, and our opportunities to be kind to others, even when things seem precarious. Gratitude is an awareness that in everything and everyone there is a gift – of learning, of security, of comfort, of love.
Gratitude is … in my very best estimation, an affirming yes, a going with the flow, a calm acceptance, a perception of the good in everything and everyone. It is unconditional. It is an extended hand which loves rather than rejects, spreading kindness and good will in her wake.
And the very point, the very crux of why, even in the darkest of moments, that we should express Gratitude is that it acts as a healing balm. It clears the despair to make way for an awareness of happiness, of the good we can give. It reveals a thread of Hope and tiny spark of remembrance of the good.
And yes, no matter where we find ourselves on the spectrum… whether struggling or living in comfort, gratitude and kindness are still ours to give and to receive. And it will, absolutely, I promise, promise, transform your life from scarcity to abundance in every way.
When I am feeling under the weather, or distracted by finances, or feeling downtrodden in the pursuit of dreams, shifting towards Gratitude invariably buoys my spirits and directs me towards the very immediate Now, whether I reflect on the gift of the sound of the wind rustling the leaves in the trees, the comfort of a hug from a friend, or the immediate Peace I feel upon deeply inhaling, or the glow of the sun upon my skin.
And perhaps, the gift of Gratitude, when shared, is that our Thanks reminds the receiver of the beauty of their presence on this Earth, and that just might make all the difference on darker days.
What are you Grateful for, my friends?
I love you,