Gratitude In Practice

IMG_0798The practice of gratitude gets a lot of publicity each November in the US. The tradition of gathering together in community and sharing harvest was the custom we have since derived this tradition around giving thanks each year.  The very inception of the practice was an act of sharing abundance.

In this season of heightened awareness, I see people begin to post their 30 days of gratitude, which is always sweet, but somehow it often seems to be missing something for me. This practice feels incomplete to me.

As always, not being one to leave something untouched I took some time to uncover what about this month of statements of gratefulness left to be desired in my opinion. I stumbled upon the same issue I have with the “law of attraction.”

For those that know me, and know me well, it probably comes as no surprise to you that I find the need to add action in this practice. The whole idea of simply speaking or writing words of gratitude either privately or publicly falls flat for me without any action tied to it.

So where am I going with this you ask?

I think the practice of gratitude or giving thanks involves more than words. I think if someone or something has made such a difference in your life as to merit gratitude there must be something you could pay forward from it.

So in practice, I thought about my own gratitude and took an example from my own life. I am thoroughly grateful for my health and my ability to gather in community to exercise. The running groups, boot camps and fitness groups I have connected with over the years have made the difference to me in my attendance, enthusiasm and ultimately my overall fitness.

I could be privately grateful, I could even acknowledge them to my social media, directly to the organizers or even write a note of thanks or send them a gift to let them know how much their products, tools and organizations have helped me. This would feel good to me and if it was not a private silent gratitude, I’m sure it would feel good to them as well.

However…

I haven’t done this, I have decided to pay my gratitude forward thus adding a ring to the ripple effect that was begun with me. I began a fitness group in my new community. I created a space for people to join together to become the same type of support that brought me through the beginning stages of creating a fitness habit.

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Do you see how the latter effort adds giving to the thanks? This perpetuates the goodness I’ve experienced in my life and offers it to others. The ability to recognize the importance of something in your life and to translate that to share it with others is the highest form of gratitude I can think of.

Bringing this all forward, giving thanks for something is simply the first step, the follow up to this is to determine what actions created this in your life and what

action of gratitude or appreciation could bring this same joy I am feeling to another. To be grateful for your health is one thing, and to offer this great gift to another is the opportunity to expand the beauty.

Being grateful for something is not the end game, it is simply the beginning of the process. Recognizing something, especially the small things, is the first step to identifying its importance in your life.

Gratitude without action seems to me like a missed opportunity. For me it is important to express in a meaningful way my gratitude to a particular person in a way that identifies their importance in my world. To then share my gratitude in a tangible way instead of a silent prayer in solitude brings life and energy to that which I adore having in my life.

I encourage you to think about those things for which you are grateful during this month. Once you have your gratefulness in mind, think about how you might be able to share or create these experiences, feelings or things in someone else’s life.

The cycle of gratitude begins with acknowledgement and is amplified by sharing the gift.

My gift to you this month is this practice of sharing your gratitude with others.

-E

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