Friday, July 30, 2010
Yet Another Riff on Gratitude
As you may or may not know, I am fond of finding things to be grateful for. In my daily journal, I always have create a Gratitude of the Day. There are days when I dearly would like to fall into total snark with it and other days when I just don't feel a lick of it. Sometimes the very things that are most pissing me off are the ones I know I need to throw some gratitude at somehow. This whole thing has worked for me now for a couple of years. Sometimes I worry that it looks all goody-goody and I'm just not all that fond of goody-goodies actually. I'll take the risk. In the past when I've written about gratitude, I mention the origin of my interest in it, which all relates to an article by Joanna Macy in Shambala Sun and her proposition that gratitude is subversive. Now, that's an attitude I can get behind.
And what I mean by that, other than admitting to still having some sort of teenage rebellion-y type of angst still lurking in this middle aged soul, is that once you start expressing gratitude for something - anything big or small - and do that on a regular basis, I have found that it's nearly impossible to get sucked into a depressed or hopeless or anxious state even in unpleasant circumstances. To some extent I am fighting that "suckage" by using gratitude to re-point my thoughts toward what is life sustaining and healthy. That directly subverts that nasty, critical and fear-provoking voice many of us end up listening to, you know the one that tells us we're no good, we need more stuff, we have to look a certain way, we're not loved, all that.
Getting back to the quote I started off with, if "magic wand" is defined as a tool that is used to direct and place energy toward a desired outcome, in that context, gratitude is a very potent one indeed.
All that said, of course I did a little additional research (using a well known search engine) on gratitude and unsurprisingly found a wealth of nifty quotations. This one brought me up short a bit: "Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors." - François Duc de La Rochefoucauld. Monsieur, thank you for that little bit of cynicism, although I'm not sure how, if I express gratitude for river rocks, which I think I have done in the past (and if not, am now), they would ever provide future favors other than to remain rocks. I doubt they care whether or not I am pleased by them. Instead, finding gratitude is a way of staying in the here and now, not wallowing in the past and not worrying about the future.
Gratitude of the Day: I am grateful for breathing in and breathing out.