Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Gratitude as Ethic

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Part of the answer lies in the nature of gratitude itself. It cannot be overstated that gratitude is an emotion, a complex set of feelings involving appreciation, humility, wonder, and interdependence. Gratitude is, however, more than just an emotion. It is also a disposition that can be chosen and cultivated, an outlook toward life that manifests itself in actions — it is an ethic. By “ethic,” I mean a framework of principles by which we live more fully in the world. This ethic involves developing habits and practices of gratefulness that change us for the better. Gratitude involves not only what we feel, but also what we do.

In this way, gratitude resembles love. Love is also a complex set of feelings — desire, passion, devotion, and affection. We feel love. But love is also a commitment, a choice, and a vow, an emotional orientation toward a person or persons that causes us to act in certain ways. Love as a noun, a feeling, surprises us; it shows up and changes everything. As most of us know, however, it is also a bit of a cheat. It can disappoint, fade, or taunt when it seems to hide or move away. Love as a noun can be tricky. When it is, we choose, often motivated by the memory of the feelings, to love and act accordingly. Love moves from being a noun — an emotion we feel — to a verb — an ethic of commitment we embrace. Gratitude is like that. Some amount of the time we feel grateful, but when the emotions seem to desert us or show up at all the wrong times and in the wrong places, we can choose to give thanks and act in accordance with grace. Gratitude is both a noun and a verb. Gratitude is both a feeling and a choice. The first often arises unannounced and the second takes a lifetime of practice.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 52-53

[Photo: Oregon Coast, August 6, 2014]

What Feelings Tell Us

Monday, May 7th, 2018

I am not a psychologist. But, over the years, I have learned that emotions — whether positive or negative — do not behave very well when ignored or pushed aside. A good life, including healthy spirituality, incorporates the wide range of human emotions relating to each other in ways that make each of us unique and open us to a sense of purpose and meaning. Maturity is acting in a manner consistent with our inner reality, integrating feelings with intellect and integrity. Maturity is being fearless in face of emotions and owning up to feelings denied or derided.

Emotions do not tell us that climate change exists or who the president of Zimbabwe is. They are not “facts” in the way that scientific or historical data are. But feelings are the data that point toward our inner realities. Feelings alert us to what is unresolved in our lives, what is missing in our hearts, the brokenness that needs mending, and the relationships that need tending. When we do not feel grateful, something is blocking the feelings — and whether that something is learned or feared is important to explore.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 34-35

[Photo: Assateague Island, October 24, 2016]

Do not be Anxious about Anything.

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Verse for the day:

[Photo: Skerries harbor, Ireland, July 2001]

Joy Waiting to be Gathered

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Every day joy waits to be gathered. Will you take the trouble to find it, cherish it, be grateful?

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 50

Gratitude Transforms

Friday, July 14th, 2017

The Dalai Lama’s ability to be grateful for the opportunities that exist even in exile was a profound shift in perspective, allowing him not only to accept the reality of his circumstances but also to see the opportunity in every experience. Acceptance means not fighting reality. Gratitude means embracing reality. It means moving from counting your burdens to counting your blessings, as the Archbishop had recommended, both as an antidote to envy and a recipe for appreciating our own lives.

— Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy, p. 243

Gathering Joy

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Giving thanks is a way of gathering joy. Imagine yourself in a meadow chasing butterflies with a net. Though the meadow is full of spiders, you don’t notice these, neither are you concerned with weeds or scraps of litter. You aren’t collecting spiders or weeds or litter. You’re collecting butterflies, and your sole focus is on capturing those brightly colored flecks of beauty.

Joy requires single-mindedness. The world is full of reasons to be sad or distressed, but beauty and goodness also abound. Which to look at? What you see is what you get.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 49-50

Appreciation

Friday, June 16th, 2017

We do violence to ourselves when we focus on what we are missing or lacking rather than appreciating the gifts we have been given. You don’t have to follow a particular religion or even any religion at all to appreciate the marvels and mysteries of the world — they are there for all of us. By bringing more appreciation into your life, you can change your attitude and your perspective on the world.

— Arun Gandhi, The Gift of Anger, p. 220-221

Do It For You.

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The ultimate issue isn’t whether people deserve your negative thoughts; certainly many people do. The more important point is that they are your thoughts in your head, and you want them to be as beneficial to you as possible. We cannot appreciate and feel devalued at the same time. As long as you appreciate, you will not feel devalued, and you’ll eventually soar above.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 113

Living in the Present

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Gratitude brings you back to now. Practicing gratitude helps you to be more present in your life. The more present you are, the less you feel like something is missing. Recently somebody posted this message on my Facebook page: “You may think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you take the time to water your own grass it will be just as green.” Practicing gratitude helps you to water your own grass. Gratitude helps you to make the most of everything as it happens. Gratitude teaches you that happiness is always now.

— Robert Holden and Louise Hay, Life Loves You, p. 160

Unexpected Gifts

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Gratitude supports basic trust. Gratitude helps you to suspend your judgment. It gives you another angle, another way of looking at things. “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you,” I wrote in Be Happy. Sometimes cancellations, rejections, traffic delays, bad weather, and even more bad weather can come bearing gifts. A layoff, an illness, or the end of a relationship may well be the start of something wonderful. “We don’t know what anything is really for, says Louise. “Even a tragedy might turn out to be for our greatest good. That’s why I like to affirm Every experience in my life benefits me in some way.

— Robert Holden and Louise Hay, Life Loves You, p. 160