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Weekly Column – Paso Robles Press

Attitude of Gratitude

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley, Spiritual Director
November 9, 2018

Meister Eckhart, 13th century German theologian, observed that “If the only prayer you ever said was thank you, that would be enough.”

Every November, I love to embrace the opportunity to take my gratitude practice to a deeper level. I do this by beginning with the visible blessings I see all around me in my life. I’m grateful for my health, my body, my relationships, my career, my home, my car, and so forth.  Starting with the visible serves to prime the grateful pump and ease me into the next stage of my gratitude practice: a deeper stage of appreciation where I begin to find what I’m grateful for in the seemingly negative experiences in life.

Finding good from bad can be a challenge. Have you ever looked back on a situation in your life where you thought, I wish this wasn’t happening in my life right now, or, I wish things were different? Then, later on down the road, you realized that the situation or experience happened to help you grow, to reveal a new gift or talent within you that might have laid dormant without that particular experience?

We live in a progressive universe. Earth revolves around the Sun, while the Sun revolves around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way rotates throughout the cosmos at an estimated pace of 1.34 million miles per hour.  That is fast!

When you can find something to be grateful for in seemingly negative experiences, you are aligning yourself with the progressive universe.  Aligning with the cosmos leads to a quickening for us all.  Now you begin to learn your lessons faster, move through your challenges more quickly, and open yourself up to the infinite possibilities within you.

Once you have seen and given thanks for the blessings all around, and you have found something to be grateful for in the not-so-great experiences, you can move into feeling gratitude for simply existing without attachment.  Now an attitude of gratitude is your starting point, and you are no longer reacting unconsciously to the world around you.

I invite you to look for new things that you can be grateful every day this month. Thank yourself for getting to this point in your life. Write a thank you card to someone you appreciate and send it in the mail—yes, snail mail. The recipient will be surprised and happy that you took the time to do so. Keep a gratitude journal and list five things you are grateful for before you go to bed at night, and first thing in the morning.

Notice the positive shift that begins to happen in your life. Notice how suddenly there are more and more things for which to be grateful. Your heart will become open to greater love, joy, compassion, and freedom.Begin to cultivate an attitude of gratitude by starting where you are with two simple words, “Thank you.” That is enough.

And so it is.