Gratitude: Bringing in the Harvest

by Leslie Sann

“i thank You God for most this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes”
~ e e cummings 

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all the blessings that have come our way. As we immerse ourselves in this year’s holiday, let us pause to truly appreciate the bounty that already is.

How we feel about life depends on where we place our attention. Have you ever noticed that every time you are given a rose it is covered with thorns. Do you say to the giver, “why are you giving me this stick with thorns on it?”. Of course not – you admire the beauty of the rose. Even if you prick yourself it never seems to hurt as you are involved in appreciating the rose and the person who gave it to you.

Life is like that. There are thorns in lots of things we are presented with in life. What do you focus on, the thorns or the gift?

That is basically our choice – to appreciate or depreciate the experience we are having. When we depreciate something (complain, not good, fast, big enough, whine, resent) something, it loses value. When we appreciate, (be grateful, celebrate, enjoy), it gains in value.

It’s that simple.

We have much to be grateful for, yet part of the human condition is to take for granted that which is good. It is actually biological. Our brain filters out anything that is not hurtful, fearful or physically moving. This is part of a survival mechanism to help us identify danger. This function contributes to the filtering out the good things we have almost as soon as we get them.

What to do?

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude, practice appreciating what you have. Look for the beauty, gifts, blessings in every moment. Get in the habit of thank you. Whatever happens have the attitude that it is perfect, even if you don’t know why . . . yet. There is a blessing in everything. Look for it and you will find it.  And if you can’t as yet see it, sit back and wait for it to show up—it will.

Be grateful not only for what you perceive as the good things, but for the gifts that may not be so obvious. Start with the outstanding things, then the good, then the mundane, then the not so good, then the very not so good, then the terrible.

Why the terrible. Well, you’ll be meeting them with feelings of gratitude and gratitude feels good. The so called terrible things are part of your life so they must be there for a reason. You might as well be grateful for the opportunity to open up to discover what is there for you.

This includes paying attention for the lessons of learning and growth. Shift your focus from the external circumstances to the learning you are involved in. Place your focus on the inner growth which is steady and consistent rather than on the outer environment which is so intangible, inconsistent and uncertain.

Instead of seeing the challenges of life as problems practice seeing each situation as a gift or blessing in disguise. Then your attitude will shift to one of enthusiasm:

  • What new learning is in store for me now?
  • What opportunity is here for me to receive?

Be in charge of where you put your focus. Train yourself to see that which is positive right now. If you can’t find something positive look again. What are you taking for granted. If you can’t find anything, hold your breath, within a few minutes you’ll really appreciate breathing.

Gratitude is a process not a result. If you think you might be grateful tomorrow, be grateful right now. Cultivate gratitude no matter what is going on. The more you express your gratitude, the more you will discover you are living an abundant life.

The process of gratitude opens us up to receive. Think about it. Whom do you prefer to give—to those who find fault with every little detail—or to people who appreciate your gifts?

The Universe probably thinks as you do: Let’s give to the grateful! And so it does.

Discover for yourself the how powerful choosing gratitude can be.


P.S.Another great quote:

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you” that would suffice.”
~ Meister Eckhart