Beautiful Friends – I’m always so grateful when you take time to read my blog, listen to my musings, and especially when you take time to comment. Thank you!
As we flip the calendar to a fresh new month I’ve decided to do another abecedarium. And this time around I thought it would be fun to do one on gratitude. After all November is when those of us in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, our culturally-accepted celebration of gratitude.
So this month I’m planning a letter-at-a-time look at what I consider important about gratitude; some of the gratitude practices that I use; some of the things I’m grateful for; perhaps a bit of channeling on the topic – who knows what the month will bring?!
But begun it has, so let’s get started…
is for Attitude.
(also Awareness. Allowance. Appreciation. Authenticity. Acknowledgment.)
I think all these words are important for our discussion about gratitude, so I’m not going to limit myself to just one.
I believe with all my heart that gratitude is a life changer. I believe gratitude begets happiness. Gratitude meets the world with openness, with receptivity, with delight and excitement and says more of that please. It raises your vibration; it entrains you to seeing the blessings that surround you and asks you to keep your attention pointed in a more uplifted direction.
So as we begin this month-long exploration of gratitude, here’s my take on all these connected A words.
Attitude – A gratitude practice can be a really profound attitude shifter. It can pull us from the depths of despair, from crankiness, from pettiness, from woe-is-me-ness into something more uplifted, something more expansive, something more positive that takes a look around and says, yes well maybe things have been difficult, maybe they’re not where I want them to be yet, but I can see in this moment, right now, right here that there IS beauty around me, there is support, there is at least a tiny inkling of goodness that I can say hello to even if I’m not ready to throw a full-out celebration. Gratitude invites expansiveness. It cracks things open. It says come out and play, come open your eyes, come open your hands, come live with an attitude of delight.
One of my favorite quotes about gratitude from Connie Kaplan:
“Gratitude is a deep understanding that life is a gift, not a burden or assignment…When one experiences Gratitude one remembers the wonder of creation.”
Awareness – I think we’re always asked to be mindful. To pay attention to what is unfolding, what is occurring, what is showing up. I believe this serves us in every aspect of our life, and yet a gratitude practice can be a brilliant way to hone this skill to master level. I love to think of myself on the joy trail, and I love imaging I have my eyes peeled for all the blessings lining the way. That’s awareness.
Allowance – Receptivity requires allowance. All the blessings of the universe can be knocking at your door but if you don’t open to allow them they might as well not be there. But allowance is also one of the magical components of a gratitude practice as well. The more you allow, the more there is. It’s one of those magical multiplication tricks the universe delights in showing off.
Appreciation – In many instances we use gratitude and appreciation synonymously and for the most part I think that’s perfectly fine. But what if in our gratitude we actually take the step to really appreciate with consciousness what we’ve received? It’s a pause that adds a deliberate layer of deliciousness.
Authenticity – I’m willing to bet that if you’re here reading this blog authenticity is a value you uphold. But sometimes, particularly when people are beginning gratitude practices they can find this a little wobbly ground. No one is asking you to feel anything you don’t feel – you aren’t being required to express gratitude for something you don’t feel grateful for just because it seems like the “right” or most “spiritually-correct” or whatever external measure you’re holding yourself up to. You don’t need to set yourself the task of writing a million-item gratitude list when you only feel truly grateful about three things. But if you bring your authentic self into your gratitude practice you are asking for more of what you really do appreciate, what really does bring you joy, what really does uplift you. And what can be more authentic than that?
Acknowledgment – There’s the internal acknowledgment that something has touched you and you are moved by its presence. You recognize its value. You have opened to receive it. This is basic to gratitude – you acknowledge what you are grateful for. But sometimes gratitude involves external acknowledgment as well, and that can be a fun part as well. A thank you expression to a friend; to a totem; to a tree that has blessed you with its solid presence. Part of what we’ll look at this month is different ways to play around with acknowledgment.
In closing, here’s something I’m grateful for. I love sunflowers and I have a bunch of them as part of the flower arrangement on my Samhain/Day of the Dead altar. They remind me of the last bits of sun available as the seasonal wheel turns to the darkening time; they’re filled with seeds that remind me there is the potential for so much to grown in the future; they remind me of the gift it is to always be turning your face to the sun. They’re stunning in their simplicity and their complexity, and they really do bring delight to me. And for that I am grateful.
What about you? What are you grateful for today? In this moment? In your week? Do you have a gratitude practice? Do you have an A word to add to our list for today? Do tell – you know I love to hear.