The Gift of GratitudeOctober 9, 2009 Leave a comment
Is to discover on earth
A Heaven-delivered rose.
– Sri Chinmoy
The other day I shared with my colleagues an experience I had of a sudden feeling that came over me, during a moment within the hectic routine of a typical morning, in which I felt great peace and joy amid the flurry of my two young daughters, husband and me readying to launch into our day. An intense feeling of love for my family and all those I am blessed to have in my life came over me, and seemed to emanate from the deepest fiber of my being out of nowhere. I was awe-inspired by this deep, unexpected, and unprompted feeling of gratitude. I’m more accustomed to feeling moments of gratitude during or after contemplation, but because of its spontaneous onset and its lingering affects, I recognized it to be a great gift.
According to Dr. Michael McCollough Professor of Psychology at Southern Methodist University, when scientists began researching links between religion and good mental and physical health, their studies indicated that gratitude plays a significant role in one’s sense of well-being, as many of the world’s major religions acknowledge and convey the virtues of gratitude. Further study including the secular population showed that those who had a tendency toward gratitude were more likely to be happier and healthier than those who did not, whether they were religious or not.
Rev. Susan Manker-Seale of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson writes: “The spiritual practice of gratitude is most like Thich Nhat Hanh’s practice of mindfulness. It is a way of being; it is a recognition of being. It is constantly with us in all that we do, like the unending prayer of divine love. The ocean is the miracle of life that surrounds us and the state of wonder and gratitude is the holy state of being. Gratitude as a spiritual practice only requires that we open ourselves to that sense of appreciation for all that surrounds us and is part of us, to walk on the earth with gratitude in every step, every breath. When we know we are part of this incredible creation/evolution, we can know we are not alone, and that in the way the world supports us, so can we support the world with our love, compassion and strength.” To read the rest, take a look here.
I am not only grateful for the power and practice of gratitude, but am also left to wonder about it’s possible uses in our work with each other and with groups. I am curious to learn more and welcome any insight or resources any of you may have.
AND I sincerely thank you!
Thanks, Chris! This is beautiful.
What an absolute gift. I know the feeling you reference. At times I feel very close to that feeling. Other times, it feels like a million miles away. I can say that gratitude is a big difference maker in all my interactions.
I think grounding ourselves in gratitude on a daily basis, to the extent that it is possible, is a tremendous lever for social change at many levels. It is something I try to practice before each client engagement, and when I return to my family at night. This speaks to me of the power of “transition” and really honoring the spaces in between events in our lives so that we can positively enter whatever comes next.
Thanks for this wonderful week-ending post!