by Elektra Porzel
We often don’t know when or how to be grateful for what we have in our lives until it has been taken away. In August, in my family, a six week old infant died in his sleep. Our family had been lucky it seems. Twenty-one grandchildren grown to maturity and no deaths. Now each of my children, all my nieces and nephews hold their babies closer and are grateful for their healthy lives.
It always makes sense to be grateful when life goes well. Gratitude for good health, for good relationships, for all the money that your family needs, for work that you are passionate about!! Yes!! Let Creation know that you are pleased with what you have in your life!
What about being grateful for the hard times that taught you how to live your life purposefully differently? I am talking about those hard times which result from mistakes, accidents, bad judgment, natural disasters. While hard to live thru, those experiences taught us what we value in our lives and how to make sure that we create the life that we want now and in the future. Your observings show you the depth of what was lost and your cravings show you what is desired. Often, for me, it is these hard times that put me on my path more clearly.
So is gratitude a noun or a verb? I am filled with gratitude or I am grateful. Recently I wrote several creation exercises on ‘What gratitude is for me’ and ‘what being grateful is for me’. I found that both of these recursions focused on being grateful for life, for my grandchildren, for plants and for my writing. It was a good exercise to define for myself what gratitude was for me. It also reminded me of what gratitude is not for me.
What are you grateful for regularly? Or is your gratitude sporadic? A powerful practice to engage in is to be purposefully grateful every day. Every day, no matter if it is a so-so day or a great day or a bad day, feel grateful in your heart. Feel the emotion of gratitude. Feel gratitude for life, for what is right in the world for you, and for what can be in the future. Gratitude fills your Being with appreciation and love. It can turn a so-so day into a lovely day. It can give a rainbow to what you had decided was a cloudy bad day.
In the U.S. in November this year, we vote and we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Take a moment every day this month to discover what you are grateful for in your life and what it feels like to be grateful for who you are being. You value certain kinds of engaging with others in the world. You value certain ways of being you in the world. Bring those values up front as you vote in early November. Bring those values up front in your mind and heart as you sit around a table on Thanksgiving Day with family and friends celebrating all that you hold dear in life. It is in the common gratitude for life, love, friends, that we can stand in the good faith that it is possible to create the life that we want for ourselves and future generations. It is these commonalities that support us when we stand together in love and gratitude. Be grateful. Practice gratitude.