A grateful heart is a happy heart
Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you say your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ it is enough.” This is a simple yet profound truth. When you appreciate life, both the aspects that you like and those that you do not, you establish a flow of an open heart which emanates gratitude.
I’m grateful I still have a home, as many in New Jersey cannot say the same after Hurricane Sandy hit. Thank you for my house.
Gratitude is a gift. Though you give it to others, it softens your own heart. Give the gift of appreciation this Thanksgiving. Just as speaking thankful words shows gratitude, demonstrating gratitude with actions shows thankfulness.
Thanksgiving is a time to share our bounty. The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, on the Thanksgiving table symbolizes overflowing abundance. As a metaphor for life this reminds us to give from a full cup with the expectation that you’ll have enough to share.
I’m grateful there will be a turkey on my table this Thanksgiving, as many in our community do not have enough to eat. Thank you for my food.
How observant are you of the blessings you’re granted each day? How many gifts go unnoticed and unappreciated? I’m grateful that gunfire and rockets are not fired near me, as many in the Middle East cannot say the same. Thank you for peace.
Happiness can be taught. It requires mindful awareness, discipline and effort, but it can be done. A grateful heart is a happy heart. I’m grateful that my children are coming home for the holidays, as my friend who lost her son this year cannot say the same. Thank you for my life.
Gratitude is not compatible with unhappiness. Being happy requires actively refocusing the mind on gratitude. While simple, this is not easy. If you notice the moment you drift into negativity, you can correct your course. While unhappiness is a contracted state, choosing to shift your focus to gratitude expands your heart.
Replace grumpiness with gratitude. Surprisingly, many cling tightly to the negative emotions often reacting with hurt or anger when unexpected events happen. When negative emotions arise, practice choosing happiness.
How flexible is your thinking? Can you move your mind to an expression of gratitude? Humor can help. Reflecting on the many events and people for which you’re grateful also helps. The mind plays tug-of-war with these polarized emotions, moving you back and forth between them, but where it lands is up to you.
I’m grateful that my students remind me to stay focused in-the-moment. They don’t dwell on past problems or project ahead to future fears. The present is the point from which happiness flows. Thank you for this moment.
Being mindful puts you at choice about your focus. An attitude of gratitude will elevate your mood, so feed yourself a feast of nourishing thoughts. Gratefulness is an energy that grows to expand and open the heart.
Whether expressed in your family, work place, community or the world, gratitude is a potent force for good. When thankfulness is the focus, much can be found for which to show gratitude.
I’m grateful for my brother, a marine and double amputee, who is learning to live life with a wheel chair and prosthetics. Thank you for my feet.
May your Thanksgiving be full of gratitude for the bounty on the table, the love of those gathered around it and the many blessings you enjoy. May your eyes be opened to the gifts you’ve already received. Acknowledge who and what you are grateful for this holiday. Open your heart to new ways of giving thanks.
As you enjoy your bountiful feast this Thanksgiving, remind yourself to focus on the moments in life for which you’re grateful. Choose to embrace life with an attitude of gratitude. May calm pervade you and joy bubble up from within.
Kristi McCracken, author of two children’s books and a long time teacher in the South Valley, can be reached at email@example.com.