We have more to be grateful for than we can imagine. Let’s start with running water. Watch a movie set 200 years ago and you will be reminded that every bedroom was equipped with a bowl and a pitcher. Why? Because that’s how one took care of water needs in the old days.
I’m a huge fan of electricity, as any regular reader of this newsletter knows. It’s something I’ve come to appreciate as a miracle of modern life. Yet in this season of love and gratitude -- and busyness – I easily forget how special it is to flip a switch and get light, heat and warm food.
Then I saw a story on CBS Mornings that brought me to full on tears.
The story started when a mother posted on Facebook a video of her adopted son from Sierra Leon being profoundly grateful for his birthday cake. When you watch the video, you will see what I mean by “profoundly grateful.” He sees those “simple” things we take for granted as miracles. Seeing our world through his eyes was the best thing that could have happened to help me find the signal of gratitude amidst the noise of the daily grind.
Here’s the important point: The signal is not a thought. It’s a feeling. Gratitude lights me up in a very particular way. Something warm and silky smooth radiates from within, and my body settles down in a way that says “all is well.” It’s from that feeling that the quality of my thoughts change. When I’m feeling tight and rushed and braced, the quality of my thoughts match that feeling. When I’m feeling warm and settled, my thoughts become more open and my actions are more generous. It’s easier to access my courage and take chances.
When I allowed the true meaning of this story wash over me, I found myself feeling grateful for every little thing. Not just the comforts, but also the challenges. Not just the “good things”, but everything. I’ve come to realize that gratitude isn’t for the people and things we are grateful for (although it’s nice for them too.) Gratitude is for us – because in feeling it, we get closer to who we really are, without all the interference of our past conditioning. Flipping a switch can bring me more than light.
The more in touch I am with gratefulness, the more in touch I am with my own essence.
What does gratitude feel like to you? Where do you find it easy to access? When is it more difficult to feel? How can you bring more gratitude into your experience of life?