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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cultivating an attitude of Gratitude all the time

GRATITUDE - warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; very thankful.[Gratitude Week Starts here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives]

Ankida - an ancient sumerian word that means "where heaven and earth join"

I am grateful for the magic light which can be seen, it turns out in the morning too, as the sun just approaches the horizon.

I am grateful for the gentle snores of my husband and child.

I am grateful for the smell of fresh coffee.

I am grateful for time by myself.

I am grateful I do very well on little sleep.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning to cries coming from Jessie's room. My immediate thought was that she wasn't as well as I thought and just needed me, as she does when she is sick. So I went into her room and lied down next to her to find that her bed was soaking wet. Uggg her diaper must have leaked, I guessed as I proceeded to change her and the bed, when I found that somehow I had let her bring a sippy cup to bed and it was the cause of all the wetness. Silly mommy.

So, now that Jessie is back to sleep and I am all awake and enthralled with the magic light peaking in the pre dawn window, it is the perfect time to think about cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Here in the wee hours I am finding it very easy and it occurs to me that this may be an excellent first step. That is to take some time and be alone to think about the people and things you love. In our busy busy lives it is so easy not to allow even 10 minutes to go un-programed. I am back, once again to the few minutes of solitude I have been contemplating adding to my morning routine since I started this game. I really don't know why it continues to be so difficult or why I am resisting the practice so decidedly. As I sit here this morning it seems entirely brilliant. It certainly could have been easy to be annoyed about being up and unable to fall back to sleep but I rarely have time alone so a cup of coffee and a little magic light is pure grateful heaven!

If one is interested in studying gratitude, the internet provides a plethora of opportunities. Put gratitude in nearly any search field and hundreds of references pop up. It seems everyone sees the value in cultivating appreciation and thanksgiving but what I believe really makes the difference is not knowing this fact but living it. I can see I have quite a distance to go before I can even hope to say that. Sitting here during this remarkable time alone I find gratitude eagerly occupying my thoughts. When the buzz of the day is in full force, Jessie needing something, phone ringing, Rob wanting something, me wanting to do something right now... gratitude quickly flees to allow room for multitasking decisiveness, which while mostly efficient, lacks any of the splendor gratitude allows.

I thought the trick would be to try and think about things to be grateful for as much as possible. Since I was home for the day yesterday, and had access to the, I started to post almost furiously about the things for which I was grateful. Then I noticed I started being more concerned with how the posts might land for other people and/or what they were saying about me and suddenly I was no longer grateful. I was just trying to look grateful and it really started to feel like a chore. It was clear, this approach was not working.  So, I researched some more and found that the people who seemed to have the most gratitude in their lives were people who are able to cultivate it as a gentle backdrop to their life. Thankfulness seems to be the key.


And interestingly enough many of the folks who wrote something that landed as right and sound with me had the quote, from Eckhart von Hochheim above, displayed prominently on their website or post. Now I am getting somewhere! I have been raised to be a polite person. I say thank you often, and my husband and daughter do too.  When I say or hear the words there has been a degree of unconsciousness I have allowed to permeate. Today I am going to do my best to change that. No more fervent pursuits of gratitude. Today I am going to use "Thank you" as my cue to appreciate. Thank you can become the warm undertone in my days and I believe gratitude will reveal itself more fully.

Of course Meister Eckhart's quote speaks to a more active practice of thanking. I believe he encouraged people to be thankful in all situations and this act of gratitude would allow acceptance in even extreme situations. I however, am a gratitude novice and need to start somewhere. Using the words thank you as a cue, and my gratitude rock as a cue, these are the little steps I am able to make right now. Perhaps in time my thankfulness will be bolstered and I will someday enjoy the warmth of thundering gratitude. The folks in these blogs seem to be well on their way. Enjoy their inspiration.

Attitude of Gratitude
The Daily Gratitude Blog
Cheerful Living

Next Post: Shift your intention from what you are receiving to what you are giving

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise


  1. Thank you for stopping by my place. Gratitude has changed my life!

  2. I love how you let us see your process as your thinking about these virtues, and about your living in relationship to these virtues, changes over time. I love the "now I'm getting somewhere!" line. It will be really interesting to go back and compare, say, this trek through gratitude with the next one you do 13 weeks from now. I can't wait!

  3. I enjoyed this blog post and it will definitely give me some thought about how I will think about things the rest of today! Thanks!


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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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