Giving thanks for all we have in our lives…and the related feeling of gratitude…is one of the most powerful tools we have to use as human beings. Maintaining a grateful disposition improves virtually everything in our lives, including our health and well-being, and our relationships with others. Being grateful opens our hearts and displaces emotions, such as greed and envy, that do not serve us.
Being grateful for your partner, for your health, for anything important to you…even another day to live on this Earth…will make you happier, more at ease, and more peaceful with those around you. We can find so much to be thankful for when we look at our lives honestly, gently, and without judging.
A simple, powerful way to practice gratitude is to regularly write down what we are grateful for, big or small. This exercise helps us realize the fullness of the gifts and blessings we receive and gives our lives more meaning and depth. It helps us realize the “why” we need in order to wisely choose what we do and how we do it. A variation on this is to regularly verbalize in affirmation or prayer what we are grateful for. Cultivating gratefulness also helps us through periods of instability and chaos to a more serene and peaceful inner landscape.
The fundamental challenge to living in gratitude is the lack of awareness of our interconnectedness. So even if we know about gratitude, we don’t feel the value in practicing it. This lack of awareness is a result of many things: scarcity caused by competition instead of collaboration, an “us versus them” survival of the fittest mindset, and the idea that humankind holds dominion over nature rather than being part of nature itself. Our modern culture is operating with an uneven balance by focusing on materialism over spirituality which can breed fear…fear of trusting, of growing, of dreaming, of trying. This can make it hard to open our hearts.
Gratitude is a feeling we build over time which creates positive momentum in our lives and opens our hearts. This is critical, not just for personal growth and finding our balance, but because each of us relies on others in order to live. Through practicing gratitude we realize our profound connection with and appreciation for one another and the world that supports us. Then harmony follows. And through humble, intentional gratitude we may find happiness.
What are you grateful for? We would love to hear your stories of gratitude, if you would like to share in the comments section below.
Thank you! We are grateful for you.
~ Jim and Lisa