Thanksgiving with family is a tradition I love a lot. It’s not the
turkey and dressing so much as the chance to take a moment and be
grateful for all that we have. I have grown over the years in how I
think about gratitude—originally I thought it was about taking an
inventory of ‘things’ I have to be grateful for, like listing “Thank
you’s” when saying Grace. Later I came to think of gratitude as more of
a ‘selfless’ expression of appreciation of good things in the world. At
one point, I began to see that gratitude has more to do with my
relationship to life and the world than any particular circumstance or
event. “I am grateful” has become more of a declaration of who I am and
an acknowledgement that I don’t have a whole lot of control over much.
wisdom comes with age, one bit of wisdom that I’ve learned is that the
less we need, the more we have. While this seems somewhat paradoxical,
it occurs for me whenever I let go of some ego-based conversation about
‘me’ and what ‘I’ want, or feel, or like, or don’t like or think, or
hope, or wish. When I am not self-centered, something almost magical
happens. I experience a relationship with the Universe, or ‘higher
power’ or God—whatever is outside my conceptions of myself—and somehow
everything shifts and I begin to experience life more fully. I begin to
be more present. I become aware of my connection to others and my
relationship with my world. I become conscious of how miraculous life
is and the privilege of being alive.
Every morning I get a ‘thought for the day’ from the Network for Grateful Living.
Their website has become the genesis for a movement of people
throughout the world. It isn’t religious in nature at all, but it has
somehow connected with some chord that is deep within all of us. This
Thanksgiving is an opportunity to expand the scope of our concerns to
include the whole planet and take a moment to step back and appreciate
the possibility that all of this is. At a time when the world seems to
be stressed to the limit and mankind is struggling to find ways of
resolving ancient conflict and fears, we can be profoundly grateful
that we have the awareness and potential to engage the questions and
create the commitments that can manifest as a transformation of
consciousness in our lifetime.
This blog is part of that transformation. A transformation of old
age from being something to fear, a source of resignation and
suffering, to being a possibility for life to become better and better
until we die. For me, gratitude is a way of being that frees and
empowers us to be responsible for and to create our reality—a necessary
element to transform our relationship with our circumstances and the
human condition in which the more we resist what we don’t want, the
more it persists. When we are grateful, there is nothing to resist,
nothing to fear and we are present to the fact that life is a choice.
Gratitude is choosing the way it is.