"Gratitude awakens another way of being in the world, one that nurtures the heart.”
~ Angeles Arrien
As I prepared to write our November newsletter on the practice of gratitude, I looked up the etymology of the word. Surprisingly, I misread the dictionary definition. I read, “The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return to kindness.” Return to kindness inspired me. (The definition actually read, “…to return a kindness.”)
For many years I have incorporated gratitude practices in my daily rituals. The thought of expanding it into a practice of kindness intrigued me.
In my gratitude practice I cherish my family and friends. I relish my community of like-minded folks. I now realize that in this season of Thanksgiving, I need to enlarge my circle gratefulness. I must explore ways to be grateful for those who cross my path and for those I might never meet. I am challenged to cultivate gratitude for the “others” who are different in philosophy and temperament from my image of myself.
As a practice this season, I will return to kindness in my thoughts, speech and action.
The first step for me is to use the words “Thank you” more often. “Thank you” for working as a cashier so that I can purchase holiday supplies. “Thank you” for asking me to stretch further to understand your point of view. “Thank you” for showing me the many ways to live an honorable life. “Thank you” for letting me be of service.
Each evening from November 23 to December 22, a full moon cycle, I will light a candle on Gratefulness.org, my favorite online resource for grateful living. I light each candle for those who challenge my sensibilities. This will require that I take notice each time someone pushes my button provoking a judgement. I will dedicate each candle to the way in which this person has brought me an opportunity to expand my practice to return to kindness.
I challenge you to expand your circle of gratitude during this holiday season. Visit A Network for Grateful Living to discover other ways to step into gratitude.
“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”
– George Washington Carver
Word for the Day from A Network for Grateful Living - November 18,2018