Gratitude has almost become a cliché, a stereotype, something where we say “oh, gratitude — I know all about that. It’s so last year.”
But here’s the deal. Gratitude really is the key to the secret of life. (Can you see my impish grin?)
I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago called “It all comes down to gratitude.” It’s worth another read.
There’s a teaching going around that emphasizes that one way to bring more abundance into your life is by practicing gratitude. I’m not sure who said it, but it goes something like this: “You won’t attract ‘more’ into your life unless you’re grateful for what you already have.” Which is true. So true! But the underlying message seems to be that practicing gratitude is a strategy for attracting more into one’s life, instead of an authentic thanksgiving from the heart.
Shouldn’t we be practicing gratitude for its own sake? “It’s not happy people who are grateful, it’s grateful people who are happy,” says Brother David Steindl-Rast. “What you appreciate, appreciates,” says Lynne Twist.
In fact, Lynne Twist (author of The Soul of Money), goes on to say:
“Gratitude is central to recognizing and acknowledging the sufficiency of what’s already there. When we turn our love and attention away from what we think we need to what we already have — financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually — and nourish it, express it, and most importantly, share it, experiences of profound prosperity, wholeness and sufficiency flood our lives.” (Quote found here.)
Oh yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
So what kind of a gratitude practice do you have?
Right now, I have a “morning litany.” I’d like to say that I count my blessings on beautiful prayer beads, but instead I count on my fingers, before I get out of bed. I don’t let myself get out of bed until I’ve found ten things to be grateful for. (Not so hard, really.) Yesterday I woke up with a toothache and earache, and realized I had to give thanks for the hidden gift inside of them. Later in the day, I discovered that their hidden gift was to put my attention back on my health and strategies for staying healthy.
I also have an open file on my laptop and iPad for jotting down gratitudes during the day. And a sketchbook where I draw gratitude doodles or “moments of grace” that may or may not morph into full-fledged pieces of art. And a file titled “Thank you” where I journal whenever I am feeling particularly grumpy. The prompt is there: “Thank you for . . .” and I just keep writing until I run out of steam. It chases my grumpies away.
Here’s a few ideas floating around the web . . .
In her latest newsletter, Christine Kane advises us to “get a beautiful journal and commit to completing your day with gratitude. Start with a list of five things. Write in as much detail as you can.”
Lovely Leonie of GoddessGuidebook.com is giving away a mini printable Goddess Gratitude Diary! It’s very cool and very Leonie-like!
Over at the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, they’re honoring Chief Jake Swamp by offering a 15-day Thanksgiving Challenge, starting today, and you don’t need to be a Kamana student to participate. If you sign up (like I did), you’ll receive email reminders, questions, inspirations and ideas over the next two weeks to keep you on track. (Chief Jake Swamp brought the Thanksgiving Address teaching to many, and he recently passed away. I love his children’s book Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message.)
How about you?
How do you practice Gratitude? And what are you grateful for, today?