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Owning It ALL (The Good & the Bad): Thoughts on Gratitude

Anonymous's picture

gratitudewithjoyI’m not much into the practice of gratitude. I don’t keep a gratitude journal as Oprah prescribed all those years ago, nor am currently I participating in that Facebook thinggie where you post something for which you’re grateful each day from now until Thanksgiving. I mean, I think they’re beautiful ideas, as they help to promote a state of thankfulness in more people who may not otherwise see the blessings in their lives. Really, I’m all for such things. I’ve just never felt particularly drawn to do them.

And it’s not that I’m not grateful. On the contrary, I spend most days in absolute awe of how the world works, how the universe intervenes, the kindness that can be found everywhere, and the power of intention. I am blown away by the vivid technicolor of flowers I pass as I walk my dog around the neighborhood. I look out onto the bay and feel my breath catch with wonder knowing how many phenomenal people surround it. I see two old men – old friends – walking down the street together in silence or conversation, and I get choked up at their unconditional thereness for each other. I pet my cat and feel love bubbles effervescing up my arm. I witness synchronicity and see people waking up every day to their immense potential as beings. I explode with laughter and shed tears and shake my head, grinning.

On occasion I will plop down on my meditation pillow and utter words of thank you, thank you over and over again, as it is, quite literally, all I can do to express the “YIPPEE!” I feel at being alive in that moment. I’m not sure who the “you” in thank you is … I assume it pertains to the universe, or source, or even myself. But it isn’t part of my daily repertoire to ceremoniously thank the Universe for all that I have, all that I am, all there is.

Why? I don't know. Maybe part of it is that, even if I wasn’t thanking – in an active, giving forth kind of way – wouldn’t this all be happening anyway? Is it more important to spend my time thanking, or drinking it all in with relish? It’s like the Universe is my grandmother and she just set a dish of lasagna in front of me. What would make her heart swell more – for me to sit there and say, “thank you SO much,” or for me to stick my face in that plate, messily gobble up every morsel, and ask for more?

Yes, of course, if we’re not relishing on a daily basis, deliberately stopping every so often to give thanks is one of the best and easiest ways to get to the good stuff in our lives. I mean, we can’t enjoy it if we’re not noticing it. But to me, gratitude is not so much the act of thanking as in the awareness. It is attention to all of the things in life that remind us of our basic goodness; our highest essence. Giving thanks is a practice of training ourselves, really, to put our attention upon kindness, beauty, innocence, love … all of the stuff that is real. All of the stuff that connects us to our divinity, and to each other.

But there’s something else I’m learning, and that is that everything that happens to us is miraculous. Even hard-learned lessons. Even atrocious mistakes. Even bad news. Even illness. Even death. It’s miraculous because it’s all part of life. Giving thanks for only the "good" stuff in our live precludes a whole chunk of being alive that is no less of a blessing – no less worthy of gratitude. To only be thankful for the sunshine and health and thanksgiving feasts ignores the blessings inherent in rain and illness and solitude, ya know?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. That's what Monday's MojoLIVE session is all about- being grateful, not just for the obvious blessings, but for all the little twists, turns, disappointments, and losses the Universe sometimes uses to help us find our truth. Maybe, if we learn to feel gratitude, even when times get rough, we will open our eyes to all the ways the Universe blesses us.

What about you Pinkies? What comes up for you when you think about gratitude? What are you grateful for? What disappointments and losses have turned into blessings? How might we reframe the way we think about what happens in our lives?

Feel free to share your thoughts on gratitude here, or bring your thoughts, intentions, and blessings to the MojoLIVE sesh. Check out the MojoLIVE page of the Posse Forum for info and to register.

Seeing, appreciating, and relishing each one of you,

Joy & Lissa



Lissa Rankin's picture

Stacey, Deep bow to you,

Stacey, Deep bow to you, sister. Namaste. Thank you for being here with us. With love, Lissa

Stacey's picture

As a new Pinkie, I am first

As a new Pinkie, I am first filled with gratitude for having been tweeted by Lissa. Lissa you have opened a new world for me and it couldn't have come at a better time. I hope to give to this group as much as it has already given to me. I look forward to tomorrow (I might be about 5 or 10 min. late) to talk about the incredible things in my life that I have always known to be grateful for (my son) as well as the most difficult things (the care of my father while he was suffering from mesothelioma and his death two years ago) which I only later realized was a gift from my G-d in so many ways I could not begin to fathom. Thank you all for being here. Stacey

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you Pinkies- we'll have

Thank you Pinkies- we'll have lots to talk about on Monday! With gratitude, Lissa

Trish Oleary's picture

That is truly a beautiful

That is truly a beautiful post. It reminded me to be more aware of my surroundings. I am looking forward to Monday.

Peace and Blessings,


Emily's picture

awww... you gals are too

awww... you gals are too cute! i'm so glad (er, grateful!) that the universe (and esalen) brought you two together. thank you for this beautiful post.

i am grateful for the rain today so i can stay inside and make soup and not worry that i'm missing out on a nice day. off to gobble up some lasagna (LOVE that image...) xoxox

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