Gratitude from the heart, not the habit

‘Tis the season again – that time when giving thanks comes up for reevaluation.  (Thanksgiving again in the United States, my non-US subscribers.  For those of you who don’t know, the traditional meal for the holiday is turkey.  That’ll be important later on.)

I was going to talk about a specific aspect of gratitude but once my pen got moving, I discovered I had something else to say.  So now I’ve got two years of newsletter posts in the bag.  Thank you, whatever muse feeds my writing.

So . . .  what wants to come out is directed toward those of us who say ‘thank you’ way too often, as well as to those of us who dismiss others’ difficulties with a call to find something to be grateful for.

Some of us don’t say ‘good bye’ or ‘see you’ when we finish a call or visit.  We say ‘thank you.’

If we’ve told a friend at least 70 times that we hate framed fluffy kitty pictures (yes, there’s at least one of you out there), we don’t say ‘you forgot that I hate framed fluffy kitty pictures, didn’t you?’ when that friend gives us a framed fluffy kitty picture (okay, I just like saying and picturing framed fluffy kitty pictures).  Instead, we say ‘thank you’.

It’s our go-to phrase.  You’d think it was our ticket to continued existence, the way we use it.

Others of us never met a moment that didn’t include gratitude, and only gratitude.

Your dog died?  So sorry, but aren’t these flowers from the vet lovely? And isn’t it great that your friends are all here?  And isn’t it wonderful that you still have two dogs, 4 cats and a pony in your fur family?  ‘You have so much to be grateful for.’

If a friend has been unsuccessfully looking for work for 6 months and is getting desperate and dispirited, we’re the ones who point out how much worse things could be or remind her that gratitude begets happiness and success.  We could even give her a framed fluffy kitty picture to show how much we care (and then she could say ‘thank you’).

171116 turkey moo

So what’s the matter with acknowledging that someone took the time to visit or thought to give us a gift?  Why wouldn’t that attitude contribute to our recognition of the ongoing gifts from the Universe?

Why wouldn’t we want to help someone out of pain and back into a brighter place?  Why wouldn’t gratitude be the connection to the potential new beginning in every present moment?

A mindless ‘thank you’ doesn’t tap into the gratitude stream the same way an enthusiastic and heartfelt expression of thanks does.  And a thanks for the tiny token underneath a steaming pile of what we hope can be used for fertilizer doesn’t really hold integrity when the pile isn’t acknowledged.

Yes, there is potential for gratitude in every moment.  Yes, the search for that gratitude can put us in touch with elements of our world that could use our recognition.

Sometimes, there are more pressing needs.  Like the need for someone to just be present through our discomfort.  Like the need to recognize our own value or to draw our own boundaries.

So, how about we save gratitude for the times and places we really feel it?  Connect with the Universe with integrity and let it know how you really feel.

May you find much to be truly grateful for this season.

Gratitude and Time Travel

1411 Gratitude

Picture it . . . . It’s the end of the month in the United States and families are gathered around tables, some heavy laden and well attended, others more sparse in feast and persons. A common tradition is to share the circumstances and people we’re grateful for since our last Thanksgiving.

As we think of what we’re grateful for, it’s almost as if we’re there, reliving the situation or in the company of the person. We’re transported by gratitude. We go back to the emotions of the past.

Can gratitude transport us into the future? Can we feel the blessings to come, as if we were living them now?

And here’s a thought . . . What if we allowed gratitude to connect us more deeply to the now?

We’re gathered around the table between smelly Uncle Harry and critical Aunt Josie and across from our brother’s endlessly caterwauling twins. It’s easier to time travel to the pleasant times we’re grateful for from earlier in the year than to try to avoid looking at the dead bird in the middle of the table. But Cousin Millie, bless her heart and soul, arranged the last of the flowers from her garden over there on the sideboard. And someone must have baked an apple pie, because the nose knows. Can we experience our present gratitude, allowing it to wash over the exposed sore spots, renewing our connection to where we are now, forging strong links between our past and future gratitude?

Whether you’re in the United States this month, celebrating our Thanksgiving tradition, or overseas . . .

May you find yourself meeting gratitude at every step.


I am grateful for all of you, for contributing to my professional success, for sharing so deeply of your lives, for inspiring me with your brilliance.  Thank you.

Gratitude and Acceptance

1311 Gratitude and Acceptance

It’s the season of Gratitude again.  Giving thanks and feasting.  Not necessarily in that order.

But how much of your gratitude is because you’re “supposed to”?

What if life has delivered a big steaming pile of stinky stuff that doesn’t even fertilize the garden?

Are you faking gratitude until no assembly is required?  Are you goodsearching uses for your pile?

What if you let gratitude be for the moment and made friends with Acceptance?

Acceptance doesn’t ask the situation to change, to be useful, to be explicable.  And, oh joy, it doesn’t ask us to do any of those things, either.

It doesn’t ask us to disconnect from current circumstances or emotional responses.   It doesn’t ask us to deceive ourselves or others about what’s going on internally.

It does give us a chance to be genuine in our responses to situations and people, to experience our emotions and keep contact with our values and goals.

Then we can act on our own behalf, as needed.

And if our actions and future gifts give us a reason to be grateful for what looked like a stinky pile, so much the better.  We’ll be able to dive deep into genuine gratitude.

Enjoy your genuine gratitude and accept the rest!



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