Gratitude is Happiness Doubled by Wonder

Tis the season to be thankful. In America we celebrate with a feast of harvest bounty with our families’ favorite fall foods: roasted turkey, bread stuffing, gravy, rutabagas or turnips, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and desserts like pumpkin or pecan pie. And no matter the hard or empty times we may have experienced: loss, death or separation from loved ones, we find the next best thing to be grateful (great full) for and say a little thank you prayer for ourselves. Many of us extend that blessing to others in need.
One of the letters I wrote to my invisible grandchild I haven’t seen since she was four was “Find Something to be Grateful For.”
As I’ve grown older I have developed a widened perspective on all of my life’s experiences. Many of my worst turning points turned out to be “cosmic triggers” for something better. Gratitude has become an essential part of my daily life.
One morning when I was mired in confusion as to why this was happening to me, the daily meditation I read every morning (no accident) was titled: “Don’t Focus on the Missing.” It was spot on. “When we focus on what we are missing, we are focusing on lack, loneliness, longing and loss of some kind. The energy of that focus is really poisonous, diminishes our relationships, makes us sad, and generally brings more unhappy experiences to us. I discovered that whenever I feel myself missing my family, my grandbabies, my friend, if instead I gave thanks for those people I loved so deeply, I felt better. The sadness would leave and in its place, the appreciation for my life grew. In most cases the love grew, connections deepened, and I discovered a great gift: love knows no borders, barriers, or conventional distinctions. Love is love is love. Let the active art of not missing give you its gift.” Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening © 2000.
There is always something, closer to home than you think, to be grateful for. In difficult times try to get to the next best thought. Look around you. Find something to be glad for, even if it is that you are not somebody or somewhere else. Today, for me, it’s the sun that has just broken through Monterey’s thick drizzly fog earlier than usual this morning at 8:43 a.m. Today I am not in the cold Northeast, or a victim of a hurricane that flooded my house, or without heat or water. Today I am alive and well. Thank you, God!
Think of someone who played an important role in your life, or did something that you would like to thank them for and suggest they actually find a way to do it. Call them or at the very least write an invisible letter. The energy of acknowledging gratitude goes a long way, even if not expressed in person.

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