21 December

Gratitude

It feels wonderful to be recognized for what you do.

It feels even better to give thanks.

If you want to feel at peace, balanced, and abundant, try expressing more gratitude – to anything at hand! … To workers showing up for us. To family for what they do right. To friends for surviving conflicts and valuing long-term connections. To keys and furniture.

I haven’t really figured out forgiveness yet, but I notice that giving thanks for the good bits of complicated situations seems to ease the angst … leans toward acceptance … loosens the grip on disappointment.

And giving thanks as a default response to situations and people just creates a good ambiance.

The espresso-guzzling, psychedelic-healing, brutally honest master learner Tim Ferriss (of 4-hour Work Week fame) mentioned recently on his constantly interesting podcast that his next book is about the discovery that “love is not directional”. It seems that love and gratitude do not travel on something like cupid’s arrow, but on concentric waves emanating from their point source, enveloping the lover as well as the beloved.

An entirely different sort of scholar, Robert N. Bellah and his colleagues at the University of California – Berkeley discovered through a massive interview project that what they called “practices of commitment” brought meaning to the actor, not just the recipients.

Gratitude, then is far more than an acknowledgement of exchange, it is a view, a décor, a landscape, or a garden that resonates serenity and gives perspective to our thoughts. 

Gratitude is an act of putting things into context and cultivating grace – grace, what used to be God’s favor, but he turns out to be “non-directional” as well. Grace is the confidence and thereby the power to be generous with words, smiles, gentleness, understanding.

As I find an ink refill waiting for my pen.
To the dropped object that didn’t break.
That a match relents to flame so I can light a candle.
The return if a luxurious memory.
When I realize there’s a smile behind a mask.
If I manage not to burn the cookies – or my fingers.
And nature’s patient splendor.