(In Honor of Thanksgiving.)
Gratitude is about so much more than being thankful. Gratitude is a practice. For some, it is a way of life. Why do some people swear by this practice? Why do those people live happier and more abundant lives than everyone else?
- Because gratitude is about presence.
Gratitude is about waking up in this moment and being here – really being here – and noticing what’s around you. Most people are so busy thinking about the next thing, or their horrid past, that they don’t wake up and look around at their present moment — the only moment there is.
- Because gratitude is about honoring your life.
Do you ever compare your life with someone else’s? Do you ever wish your life were better and more like another’s? Sometimes we can lose ourselves in wondering how we “measure up” to some standard set by someone else or by the media or by our parents. My belief is this: Comparison is the mind killer. And the antidote is gratitude.
Gratitude requires you to validate your own life. (And you really don’t have any other life, do you?) It forces you say YES to the gift that is you. The choices you’ve made, the changes you’ve gone through, the track you’re on — all of those have brought you here. Even if here is a place that needs a little adjustment, that’s okay. There are always gifts in any present moment.
- Because gratitude is about attracting.
It’s difficult to attract abundance and joy if you are saying “no” to what IS. You say no each time you focus too much on the future or past, or when you criticize something that is in your present moment. When you say yes, you shift. Attraction is about “yes.”
Gratitude says, “Yes, I love this!” And then more of this is attracted, because the this is what you’re focusing on.
- Because gratitude is about choice.
How you translate any situation is the situation. What you choose to see is the truth (for you). This isn’t proposing that you live in denial or phoniness. It’s reminding you that your translation of any life situation is your own choice. Over and over we’ve all heard stories of people who have ignored others’ translations of their talent, their projects, their art, their looks, their lives. These people chose their own translations and succeeded. You always have a choice when it comes to how you look at things. Choose to choose gratitude.
- Because gratitude is about wisdom.
I think people believe they’re being smart if they criticize, complain, and focus on the problems of the world around them. Smart? Maybe. Clever? Sure. But not wise. It is wise to look for and find the knowing place in your heart. It is wise to choose joy. It is wise to honor your riches. It is wise to focus on and grow the blessings of your life.
- Because gratitude is about recognition.
Use your power of focus to hone in on the beauty and on what makes your heart smile or sing. Recognize the spirit in your life. It’s all around you waiting to be noticed. In the words of Franz Kafka, “It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
- Because gratitude is about receptivity.
Gratitude makes you receptive. It makes you concave. It makes you a vessel, waiting to be filled.
I carry a small notebook with me everywhere I go. In it, I write down song ideas as I hear them. I write down quotes I hear. I write down ideas for stage stories. As I do that, I become more receptive, and more ideas and songs come to me. It’s a tool that says to my subconscious, “Send more my way!” And the subconscious always responds.
Gratitude is the same way. It says, “I am receptive! Send more!” And more arrives.
- Because gratitude is about creativity.
Creativity is really all about attention. When I write a song, I build a relationship with that song. I spend time with it. I get to know it. I pay attention to it. Artists do the same thing with drawings. They spend time in rapt attention and the drawing is born.
Gratitude is the same way. It is a creative act to notice and pay attention to the moments of your life. Some days it’s an enormous act of creativity to even find things for which to be thankful.
Be creative. Be present. Be receptive. Be wise. Be wealthy. Be grateful.
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