Being Grateful

This month we are taking on being grateful.  Consider that there are always endless things to be grateful for.  No matter your circumstances and no matter your personal environment, the universe is working on your behalf and ensuring your livelihood. This planet, with all of its diversity, resilience, and abundance is supporting us in every micro second of our lives.  Just think of the miracle of our personal lives, and the unlikely combination of genes that became each of us, the miracle of you being you.  Remember the billions of cells that make up our bodies that are pumping, moving, healing, and cleaning your body.  Organisms  big and small are working in the soil, in the waters, cleaning the air and balancing the ecosystems after our oil spills and diesel fumes. People all over the world are spending their entire days in service to the whole, processing landfills, finding new ways to harness renewal energy, and curing chronic pain.  Someone that you have never met is wrapping your package, someone else is delivering it to your door. Someone is writing your next favorite song.  Someone is clearing the trees from the phone lines; someone is installing the cable wires for your internet connection for you to read this.  People in your community are helping you manage your money, are making your favorite foods, are creating art that moves you. Even someone that you’ve been challenged by, that you’ve been avoiding lately is teaching you something about yourself. You see, the beautiful thing about gratitude, is that you only need to open your eyes to it. The world is already working on your behalf. No matter the challenges, the pain, the loneliness, the fear that you feel, it is always within a container of a world already working towards healing, it is a small piece of an entire organism that is working so well, and serving you so consistently, that we take it for granted.

You see, we are encouraged to suffer, to complain, to assume the position of the victim. It is far easier for the ego to get to be “right” about how unfair the world is, that we are only surviving against all odds.  Industry encourages us to stay in a perpetual state of lack and wanting, because it is good for business. A view of scarcity assumes dependency on something/one “out there” to help, to relieve us.  In this world, it is revolutionary to be grateful.  Gratitude is what moves us from scarcity and fear to abundance and fulfillment, and the miracle is- that it never lives “out there”.  Gratitude is a state of mind that you create by waking up to the abundance already around you.  To the clothes you wear, to the air you breathe, to the world that is 24 hours a day working to serve you…. gratitude is a state of mind that you create by just being aware.

Salvaged from the old Cafe Gratitude blog that I used to manage, I wanted to share a snippet from this great blog post by Karin Winter on gratitude to get a peak into what gratitude can shift in daily use:

Gratitude is a powerful tool, a way of moving our attention and refocusing our worldview.  A lot of days, I find that I get easily distracted by what I don’t have, what is not working, what is not good enough, and what I don’t have time or money for.  When I notice that my attention is going down that road, I take the opportunity to remember what I am grateful for.

Matthew Engelhart, one of the owners of Café Gratitude, often tells a story about an epiphany he had while eating a tuna sandwich.  He was in a bit of a rush, anxious to get his food and eat, and right before taking a bite he realized how grateful he was for the fish that gave its life so that he could eat. Once he realized that, he also became grateful for the fisherman that caught that fish for him, and the farmer that grew the wheat for his bread, as well as the soil that the wheat grew in, and the microbes that live in that soil… his vision exploded to include bakers and bankers, truckers and diesel mechanics, grain elevator operators and net makers, hook makers and all of their families, as well as the great and mighty food chain of the ocean. All of this amazing mechanism of creation, working 24/7, was placed before him for $4.50. “How amazing,” he thought, “that I don’t have to manage a thing!  I don’t even have to remind them to bring the hooks!”

When we shift our attention to gratitude, it creates an experience of expansion, and of profound oneness.  There are plenty of days that I might think, “4.50, for a sandwich? Really?”  It’s a completely different experience when you realize the millions of humans, and billions of living beings that came together to make your (not-so) simple tuna sandwich happen. By being grateful, we get to have the experience of being cared for by all of them.  Something as simple as a meal, with an attitude of gratitude, can make us all feel very rich indeed.

For November, we are deeply taking on the game of being grateful.  What better time than now, to release our ego’s attachment to being in scarcity, and embrace the world already working on our behalf.  Gratitude is the doorway out of fear and into trust, and the bridge to the new paradigm.  Imagine communities that acknowledged and thank without hesitation, imagine being seen and seeing others for our/their contributions.

Here are some recommendations for awakening to the abundance of life, and crafting an attitude of gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal.  Simply spend the beginning of your days by writing a quick list of everything that you are grateful for.  If you are looking for a good app to keep this virtually, I recommend the gratitude journal, see here.
  2. Check out the Abounding River with Cafe Gratitude!  Owners Terces and Matthew created a logbookthat you can complete with a friend, a board game to play with 2 or more people, and a workshop (see their whole line up here), all of which we highly recommend for achievable deep steps into true gratitude.