Season of gratitude….
With Thanksgiving right around the corner I am especially aware of how important it is to be grateful. Not merely as a concept, but more as an experience that can bring you to tears.
It has taken me the better part of my adult life to fully experience gratitude in my body. One of the turning points for me was reading a book called Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer by Brother David Steindl-Rast. He has a wonderful video on YouTube where he described why we should be profoundly grateful to simply wake up in the morning. I encourage you to view it here https://youtu.be/3Zl9puhwiyw.
The bottom line is what Brother David expresses is everything in this world has been given to us. The air that we breathe, the water that we drink, our bodies that’s simply work. I used to take all of these things for granted. The idea that I could just go into the kitchen and turn on the faucet and have clean, potable water to drink. Both hot and cold running water when so much of the world doesn’t have it. That is amazing. Really.
This was also my wife’s favorite time of the year. She assigned all of her clients and students to write 1000 gratitudes before Thanksgiving day. I never once heard anyone say ” yay I can’t wait!” The reaction was more commonly a groan or a grunt. It always became an exercise in overcoming ourselves, but in the long run was a glorious exercise. And showed us how there are so many things in our lives day to day, to be grateful for. The people and things that we interact with every day make our lives wonderful, and we can stop and acknowledge that.
Of course there are some things in our lives we cannot be grateful for, that we wish would never have happened, or would never happen again, but that’s not what this exercise is about. Trust me, you can always return to that way of thinking anytime you choose, but for today, for now join me in thinking about all of the wonderful things, and all the wonderful people in our lives. Because we can.