Originally published on elephant journal:
My gratitude sits in the front seat of the roller-coaster.
Have you ever given a gift to someone, and they thank you umpteenth times—but never actually use the gift?
The universe is gifting us all the time, and as polite as the gesture of “thank you” is, it is not the same as gratitude in the present moment—in action.
See, I’ve tried all sorts of gratitude lists and rituals—mulling over my myriad of blessings in my mind, and carefully writing each down. But, no matter how much thinking I do about the gifts in my life, and despite my ernest attempts to be aligned with an attitude of gratitude daily, something has always seemed to be missing.
This logical, left-brained attempt at gratitude felt disconnected, like it was not the truest expression. Becoming aware of this, I have found myself remembering and redefining how my gratitude actually shows up.
How do I say “thank you” back to the universe, with my whole being? What is the most genuine expression that honors my overwhelming blessings?
My gratitude is now.
It is spontaneous, dynamic and unexpected; it plunges graciously into the present moment, ready to celebrate and appreciate what lies before me with a sense of awe and wonder.
My gratitude rejoices in the blessings I am given—the emotions, relationships, connections, experiences and the beauty of the world—as they unfold.
It is the now, as life happens, and in this way it completes a wonderful circuit—life sends something my way, I honor it with my undivided presence and energy, and in that awe-filled awareness, I complete it.
School, nature, challenges, writing, relationships, discoveries, sunsets, work, play—any area of my life becomes illuminated when I choose to dedicate my full presence and energy to it.
My gratitude opens to you.
I express my thanks for you by dropping my agenda and honoring you with my full attention, compassion and curiosity.
I live my gratefulness for you by being fully with you—here, now—hearing the words you say, feeling the untold emotions in your voice.
I listen and respond, rather than just waiting to speak my piece. I hold space for you, meeting you where you are, and in doing so, I bear witness to your pain or bliss.
My gratitude is worthy.
“To doubt your worthiness is to doubt your place in the cosmos.” ~ Unknown
The moment before us is ours, for this moment only. There is nothing to be gained in questioning why we deserve our blessings—these worries and feelings of inadequacy consume us, yank us from the present and attempt to waste our opportunity to live fully and appreciate the moment.
My gratitude doesn’t want to miss the treasure of this moment, so it accepts the gifts it is receiving.
My gratitude accepts that my blessings are mine for a reason: so I live them, love them and strive to be present for them.
My gratitude is not logical.
It arises in the midst of feeling, I come closer to it from a state of being. It is the present acknowledgement which stands wide open in awe of life in the moment. It is the pounding of the heart that feels expansive and throbbing with possibility and bewilderment, perhaps even ecstasy. My gratitude’s most genuine quality it is found in the moment of the experience itself. Surely you’ve had the experience of being blissfully high on this wonderful life…
My gratitude is not only remembered, it is lived.
As we become accustomed to our abundance, it is easy to forget that we are not entitled, and we begin to take it for granted—not in an intentional way; we just become accustomed. What was once new and unfamiliar slips into the unconscious corners of our brain.
In a world giving us a million things to remember, it’s no feat to rush by our abundance.
We get caught in the past and the future and worries and struggles and pain and relationships and jobs and money. All of life and all of the day asks for our remembering, yet there are so many opportunities to forget.
It’s the human struggle—falling in and out of presence, in and out of gratitude.
But! Each moment that we choose to set it all down and reunite with the only real moment—the present experience—we can bear witness to the the offerings it brings.
Every opportunity in which we are willing to bring our greatest gift to the table: our presence, we truly appreciate.