As you all know I live near Liverpool in the UK and we don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, but living on the internet as I do means that it has become as much a part of my calendar as yours and I have created deeply personal rituals around it to give thanks in my own way. Gratitude has been a part of my life ever since I discovered Sarah Ban Breathnach (for whom the postcard above is dedicated) and though the act of listing my daily thank-you's is but a fleeting ritual when my mind is empty enough to put pen to paper, still the ritual of acknowledging all that I'm thankful for, of seeing the teeny tiny joys in the mundane is now so deeply ingrained as to be an integral part of who I am and as always I send oodles of virtual hugs to Sarah as the most important thank-you of all...
Today I wanted to say something new about gratitude: to try to get a grip on how I feel about it now after fifteen years of practice and then, as the universe always has it, a gorgeous piece about the very same popped into my in-box from a woman who has made gratitude her life and her business and today struck me as both the perfect day to share it and to once again urge you to become a member of her lovely community and make gratitude a daily practice...
Crystal Pirri On Gratitude
There are times when being grateful is easy. When I receive the perfect gift from a thoughtful friend, or my husband does the dishes after dinner, or Daylight Savings Time gives me an extra hour to sleep in, I'm grateful.
While expressing gratitude during those times is certainly important, being grateful when it's not easy is the most important time to practice it.
Gratitude changes your mind.
"A man is what he thinks about all day long." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you're ungrateful, when you're worried, stressed, angry, sad, depressed, annoyed- those are all valid emotions that I don't recommend you ignore. I do recommend, by way of working through them, finding something to be grateful for in each situation.
We have a right to be angry. I'm grateful for that. We have a right to be stressed, worried, annoyed. How wonderful! We have a right to work through our emotions as we see fit. However- we also have the right to be calm, peaceful, grateful, appreciative.
I find that when I'm grateful, people respond to me more favorably. Friends are more receptive. Strangers smile more. My husband is quicker to help out if I'm whistling while I work, doing my chores with a grateful heart.
While I'm incredibly grateful for the good times, I'm especially grateful for the moments that make it more difficult for me to find gratitude. When tragedy strikes, and we've all had our share of tragedy- there's something to be grateful for. I'm still standing. I'm still able to feel the pain. I'm still able to breathe, eat, sleep. Everything else is just a story.
Gratitude changes your mind. How deeply that resounds with me. Something I hadn't been able to put into words myself: and yet there it is: gratitude changes your mind.