Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Power of Gratitude

"It is not joy that makes us grateful; It is gratitude that makes us joyful." -- David Steindl-Rast
Gratitude is something that we hear about all the time. In the United Stated we even have a whole day dedicated to being thankful, but the question is, how often do we stop to actually be truly thankful in our every day lives? If we slowed down just for a moment to notice all the things that we have from shelter, food, water, to blessings that come in disguises, love, the sunshine, the trees, chocolate, perhaps that morning cup of coffee... there are so many gifts to be thankful for. Gratitude is something we can talk about until we are blue in the face however, most of the time we get so busy we forget to feel it, to actually feel and notice the things we are thankful for. We get wrapped up in sending an email, a deadline, kids, school, there are a thousand distractions and I am sure we can get a running list going of those as well. However, when we slow down, take a deep breath in and get still, we are able to feel and connect to the life we live-- to the simplicity and gratitude of what it means to simply be alive. In a recent Oprah video a group of panelist talk about gratitude. One of things mentioned is that gratitude connects us to the divine. When we are in gratitude there is no room for fear, or separation. Gratitude is calming, loving, it negates fear in a world where some how along the way we have become fearful-- afraid of each other, afraid of feeling, afraid of loving, afraid of feeling. Fear, anger, stress, are isolating feelings. When we are in gratitude our hearts are open. We are able to give and receive freely, without attachment to the outcome.  It also helps us to connect with each other. When we are in gratitude, we come from a place of love. There is a recognition of something bigger, greater, a shift in perception. 
Gratitude is the seed at the root of joy, love, courage, connection, a sense of belonging-- these all in some way connect us back to ourselves. Tonny Robbins says, "Gratitude is the reset button. It is the cleanser of the soul. In giving thanks, the "you" disappears and you are reconnected to the divine. Another panelist on Oprah's team mentions that everything you see, touch, feel is a gift and where there is appreciation there is duplication. Deepak goes on to say that "gratitude is abundance consciousness." Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, and reminds us that we already have everything we need, the key is to simply slow down, get still and notice. 
Notice the things that make you smile. Notice the joy that comes when you breathe into your lungs knowing that the breath you just took is a gift. Every day, find something to be grateful for. It's there. 

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude."- Denise Waitley