Do You Want to Feel Overwhelmingly Grateful?

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

Can you imagine? The power of gratitude is so overwhelming that it is all we need to feel…

celebrate-954794_1280Fulfilled

Joyful

Alive and

Connected to our Source. 

Gratitude is a Way of Life

Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Denis Waitley

Gratitude is not a passing thought. It is an attitude, a mindset, an emotion, a means of seeing, a way of being.

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. John Milton

The Gratitude Challenge

Take time this week to watch the following films. They are so powerful, so beautiful and deeply moving that I could only watch about a half an hour at a time.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent years traveling the world filming nature and interviewing over 2,000 people. The result, the film called HUMAN, is best described by the synopsis on their site

“HUMAN is a collection of stories and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human. Through these stories full of love and happiness, as well as hatred and violence, HUMAN brings us face to face with the Other, making us reflect on our lives. …these poignant encounters share a rare sincerity and underline who we are – our darker side, but also what is most noble in us, and what is universal. Our Earth is shown at its most sublime through never-before-seen aerial images.”

Volume 1     Volume 2     Volume 3

I challenge you to watch these films and not

  1. be overwhelmingly grateful for your life;
  2. feel one with all humanity;
  3. say a prayer for our world and all who dwell within it.

Gratitude is an energy that pours forth from us. Nurture it with contemplation, kindness, appreciation, gentleness and love. Your very presence will then be a healing blessing to all.

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From Slavery to Beauty and Art

The coastal area of South Carolina was once covered with plantations. Big Gone with the Wind mansions stood in the midst of thousands of acres of cotton or rice fields. The white folk, the animals, the crops were all tended by slaves imported from Africa.oak-alley-plantation-441828_640 In 1930 Archer Huntington and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington purchased four of these adjoining plantations in Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina. The 9,100 acres stretched from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Waccamaw River on the west.

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The Planter

Part of the land is now Huntington State Park. But across the road is Brookgreen Gardens, originally Brookgreen Plantation. It was once owned by Joshua John Ward, known as “the king of the rice planters.” With over 1,000 slaves, Ward was the largest slaveholder in America. Planters, as plantation owners were known, were among the wealthiest people in America.

The Huntingtons turned Brookgreen into a wildlife P1130103preserve and garden sculpture park. Originally developed to showcase Mrs. Huntington’s sculptures, it grew to include the works of many American sculptors. Now when you walk through Brookgreen Gardens, you are surrounded by flowers, cypress and live oak trees, ponds, fountains and almost 1,500
pieces of figurative sculpture. It is the worP1130033ld’s largest collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in an outdoor setting. Where once there was hard labor, inhumanity, and heartbreak, now there is beauty and art, peace, serenity.

No one can truly know what it was like to be a plantation slave. So I do not mean to diminish the intensity of the word when I say that we are all, in our own ways, slaves.

WHAT ARE YOU SLAVE TO?

What holds the reins of your freedom in its hands?

Do you own your home, your car, your things or do they own you?

Are you the master of your body or is it your master, controlling what you eat, drink, smoke, how you look and how you feel?

Does money dictate your decisions?

How much does the media influence your thinking, your lifestyle and goals?

Are you slave to your addictions? Your fears? Your family? Your work?

Are you powerless against your reactions? Your childhood programming?

No one is entirely free. To live peacefully in society, there are things we have to do, laws we have to obey, obligations we have to fulfill. The question is how do we do them? Do we feel forced, controlled, angry? Or do we approach life, each day, each person with an open mind? An open heart? Do we do things with resentment, complaining or with a joyful heart? Yes, we have to pay taxes but are we grateful that we make enough money to be in a tax bracket? Yes, we have to make dinner or do the laundry or mow the lawn, but are we thankful that we have food to cook, clothes to clean and a lawn to mow?

Do you hate your job, your car, your house, your body, your family? Everything in the universe is alive, absorbs your energy and reflects it back to you. Find just one thing in your job, your car, your house, your body to love. Dwell on it. Praise it. Flood it with gratitude and your whole world will change magically before your eyes.

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For me, the lesson of Brookgreen Gardens was that things can change dramatically. Places can change. People can change. The mind is like the soil of the earth. In it we can plant a beautiful garden that gives rise daily to beautiful thoughts and feelings. Our lives can be works of art. Or we can build fortresses of anger and hatred and resentment. And then we are trapped within it, owned and controlled by what we made.

In our lives, we are both master and slave.  How does your garden grow?

Gratitude NOW Can Change You and Your Life

 Gratitude is the fastest way to…
change your attitude
increase happiness
change perception
pour cool water on boiling emotions
reduce negativity, resentment and pain.

People who DAILY count or record their blessings…
feel better about their lives
have less illness and depression
have closer family ties
are more resilient, optimistic and  enthusiastic.

Gratitude is not just a passing thought or feeling ormoney-256319_640 merely expressing appreciation. If I drop something and a stranger picks it up and hands it to me, I appreciate the act of courtesy and say thank you. But if a person chases me down the street to return my credit card, I am more than appreciative. I am enriched by this person’s goodness, filled with joy, a sense of peace and goodwill. The world is seen in a brighter light. I have a great attitude!

GRATITUDE = GREAT-ATTITUDE 

True gratitude is laced with wonder and joy. Most people sunset-928883_640enjoy a beautiful sunset, but how often do we feel the wonder of the little girl who ran in the house one evening and told her mother, “I didn’t think purple went with orange until I saw the sunset God just made!”

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. G.K. Chesterton

GRATITUTE = GREAT ATTITUDEGratitude is like an electrical light switch. It turns on light and erases darkness. With gratitude we can switch perception from problem to opportunity, from resistance to acceptance, from ending to beginning, from sickness to healing, from anger to forgiveness. 

DO IT NOW! Find just one thing to feel truly grateful for in the midst of any situation and it is so powerful that it will overcome other emotions.

If you want to see a fast and positive change in your life, inject your days with abundant doses of positive praise. Don’t just think thankfulness. Express it in words, song, laughter, action. DO IT NOW. Before falling asleep, review all the good the day held. Before getting out of bed in the morning, spend at least 30 seconds giving thanks for the day to come and all the potential good it holds. Every day, write down different things you’re grateful for. Develop the habit of being thankful every day, in every situation including problems and mistakes. 

Every problem has a gift for you in its hands. You have the problem because you need the gift. Richard Bach

Gratitude expressed anywhere – to health, work, relationships – is like a lubricant that increases the flow of good into and through those areas. Your body loves to receive gratitude. Move your awareness through eGRATITUDEach area of your body as you say, “Thank you!” Feel the cells tingle and respond with renewed energy. DO IT NOW. Express gratitude all day long. Thank the day, the sun or the rain, thank your car, thank your home, thank the people in your life.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. William Arthur Ward

Gratitude expressed to other people is an instant elixir that soothes hurts feelings, raises dashed hopes and heals conflict. A sincere thank you says, “I see you, value and appreciate you.” Expressing gratitude to others is an act of kindness. A connection is made at the soul level and both giver and receiver are blessed.

If the only prayer you say in your whole life is “Thank you,” 
that would suffice.
 Meister Eckhart

DO IT NOW

Feeling down, anxious, angry? Focus on what you’re grateful for, what’s going right. Gratitude alters biochemistry, elevates mood, shifts perception. DO IT NOW. Smile, laugh, think happy thoughts, feel grateful for 20 seconds and you’ll change your emotional vibration.

Gratitude is fulfilling – fills us full – of joy, appreciation and love. The more we’re thankful, the more we realize how much we have to be thankful for. When you approach anything with gratitude you project a great attitude and it responds to in kind.

The great medical missionary Albert Schweitzer said…
Those who thank God much are truly wealthy. So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, whatever the experience.

DO IT NOW!

Adapted from:
Make the Best of the Rest of Your Life