Tag Archives: Grateful

Practicing Gratitude.

This post is part of a synchroblog on gratitude as a spiritual practice. The other contributions are listed at the end of this post.

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind. – Lionel Hampton

I think of gratitude as essential to my spiritual health as prayer and meditation.

I love the idea of gratitude and I believe that being grateful and remembering what we are grateful for can have a positive impact on ourselves, on others and on the world we live in.

And practicing gratitude sounds so simple … make a list of the things you are grateful for, take a walk for ten minutes and think about what you are grateful for, blog about being grateful everyday in the month of November, always start your prayer with thanksgiving.

But, over the years I’ve come to realize that practicing gratitude isn’t as simple or easy as it sounds.  So, I thought I would share what I have learned over the years about practicing gratitude.

Once you begin to attempt the spiritual practice of gratitude it quickly becomes obvious that there are times when you are going through the motions of practicing gratitude but everything that is the very essence of gratitude seems to have slipped out the back door of your soul.  You are mouthing the words, you are thinking the thoughts, but you don’t feel thankful right now – life is beating you up, things aren’t going your way, you are hurting, afraid, lonely, worried.  You may be saying “I’m thankful for this and that” but you don’t feel thankful and you don’t really feel like taking the time to remember something you’re thankful for. You begin to wonder if practicing gratitude is the answer to what ails you – is it really helpful?, does it work?, is it worth the time and effort?

One thing I have learned over the years and have to remember when practicing gratitude is that it is NOT the answer to pain.  In fact, if there is an answer to pain I haven’t found it. BUT, I do believe that practicing gratitude may be what opens something up inside of me so that I am able to receive the light and comfort that my soul seeks and needs in order to heal. I do believe that practicing gratitude, even when the feelings aren’t there, creates a path that I can follow back to peace and harmony.

Another thing I have learned over the years is that practicing gratitude does not mean that I will never have a sad or negative thought or that I have to replace every sad or negative thought with a positive one.  Some days, when our grief is still too raw, aren’t good days for the spiritual practice of gratitude. I don’t ever want to fall into the trap of thinking that practicing gratitude means that it is wrong or bad to allow ourselves to experience pain or suffering. I don’t want to pretend, or encourage anyone to pretend, that loss or sickness or injury or catastrophe or any other bad thing that we experience does not exist or impact us.  What HAS turned out to be true for me is that the practice of gratitude is an essential element when I am ready to start the healing process.

And most recently I have learned that practicing gratitude and positive thinking are different   Positive thinking is an approach to life but practicing gratitude is a response to life. Good thoughts are probably necessary for our success but gratitude is our sincere appreciation for the gifts of life that we have experienced. I’ve heard that gratitude is not only a virtue but that it is the mother to all the other virtues. I don’t know if that is true but I do think that gratitude often leads to positive thoughts and positive actions.

What are some insights that you have to share about practicing gratitude?

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Check out the other contributions to this month’s synchroblog:

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Five – My Sons

Today I am thankful for my sons.

One is 25 and lives near me with his wonderful partner. The hubby and I went to dinner and a movie with them on Saturday. I love that he lives near me and that we get to do stuff together.

The other son is in his first year of college at The University of Alabama. I don’t like that he is so far away but these days there are so many ways to connect that it’s not too bad. He was home in October and will be back for Thanksgiving and Christmas so at least I don’t have to wait too long to see him in between visits.

I am proud of both of my sons. They are different in many ways but are also the same in a lot of ways. They both work hard, both have a great sense of humor, both value family and friendships and imo both are good looking! Not only do I love them and am proud of them but I LIKE them!

I’m a lucky woman!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day Four – Social Networking Friends

Today I am thankful for friends that I have met through social networking. Between blogging, Facebook and Twitter I have made a lot of friends through social networking over the last few years. Some people think that you can’t make friends through Facebook or Twitter but my experience says that you can.

AND sometimes I am lucky enough to get to see some of them face to face and that is what happened today.

I love it when that happens!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day One – My Job

I heard something about a “30 days of gratitude” project on Facebook about a week ago but there was no mention of any details.  So I Googled.  Turns out there are several similar projects.   Some invite people to list five things they are thankful for every day for 30 days, some invite people to take a photo of something they are grateful for 30 days in a row, some invite people to use a specific app to journal their gratitude.  Some have happened in the past and some are going on right now.  In other words – this isn’t an original idea by yours truly. However, I love the idea, especially in light of this month’s synchroblog theme “The Spiritual Practice of Gratitude” and so, I thought I would participate in my own way … which will be to  blog about “one” thing I am grateful for every day for thirty days in a row.

Some of the posts will be very short and to the point and some will be longer with more detail.  Like I said, it’s not my idea but I’m doing it my own way.

I will jot down something I’m grateful for every morning but I may not always get a chance to post every day, therefore, some days I will publish more than one “30 Days of Gratitude” post.

Here’s Day One:

Today I am thankful for my job. I’ve been at my present job for about 6 years now. I was out of the work place for about 5 years and was fortunate to find my present position (through a friend who worked for the company) when I was ready to go back to work. This position was the first and only interview I went on back in 2006.

I work with and for some great people. Things have changed quite a bit in the last several years but I still report to the same people and they are wonderful to work for. They are the kind of bosses that often work harder and longer than their employees – which is inspiring and motivating.

AND on top of that I have a four day a week work schedule which gives me every Friday, Saturday and Sunday off!!

Having the extra day off every week is a real luxury. There may come a day when I have to once again work on Fridays but until then I will enjoy my three day weekends!