Being Thankful

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you; it will be enough.

Meister Eckhart

It can be so easy to lose touch with gratitude when we feel challenged by life. We can become distracted by the everyday minor irritations that we each deal with or – at those moments when major changes overwhelm us – we can feel in some way exiled from life’s sweetness, from the many blessings that we are touched by. When we look a little deeper, even at the most painful times, we can find that we are surrounded by a million unspoken kindnesses; within touching distance of beauty and joy; never far from a gift – be it a word, an act, a sight, that has the potential to enrich us.

I don’t do it nearly enough but I think a regular practice of consciously giving thanks is a simple but powerfully effective spiritual practice that anyone can do, regardless of religious belief or lack of, and it would seem, regardless of where we might find ourselves.

I have a lot of love and laughter in my life at the moment – despite the sadness of endings that are an inevitable part of this transitional time – and although I am not immune to that sadness, the depth of that love and laughter is something I am truly thankful for. It is something that enfolds me, comforts me, inspires and uplifts me.

I am also very grateful for my beautiful little flat. Steve and I regularly talk to a homeless man in our local shopping area. Steve has bought him food and cigarettes on occasion and we give money when we can, chat and say hello. I cannot imagine how tough it must be not to have a roof or a place of safety and comfort that you can relax in. This man has no family and spends much of his time alone. A hard life indeed. It reminds me that what I have is a palace and a blessing – ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ is a saying that none of us should ever forget.

Perception is everything – how we choose to see and interpret our lives is ultimately the deciding factor in how our lives are shaped. We might not draw the outline – plenty of external stuff impacts on us too – but we select the colours that fill those lines; the tone and the texture are ours to create. The wonderful thing about gratitude is that it transforms the world into a magical place, full of meaning and depth. And so, say thank you. The more you do, the more you will discover to be thankful for.

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