Gratitude — The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
During November many friends have listed things for which they were thankful. The items varied from the most simple of an everyday blessing to the mind boggling power of our heavenly Father, yet the thankful heart acknowledged them all. That is the secret of gratitude: In everything give thanks.
The book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach started me on my journey of intentional gratitude. These quotes encouraged me to pursue gratitude and showed some of the benefits of being thankful.
“At the heart of Simple Abundance is an authentic awakening, one that resonates within your woul: you already possess all you need to be genuinely happy.”
“These are the six threads of abundant living which , when woven together produce a tapestry of contentment that wraps us in inner peace, well=being, happiness and a sense of security. First there is gratitude. When we do a mental and spiritual inventory of all that we have, we realize that we are very rich indeed. Gratitude gives way to simplicity–the desire to clear out, pare down, and realize the essentials of what we need to live truly well. Simplicity brings with it order, both internally and externally. A sense of order in our life brings us harmony. Harmony provides us with the inner peace we need to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us each day and beauty opens us to joy.”
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. IT can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a hoe,a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie
“. . .this first tool could change your life beyond belief: it’s what I call a daily gratitude journal. i have a beautiful blank book and each night before I go to bed, I write down five things that I can be grateful about the day.Some days my list will be filled with amazing things, most days just simple joys.
Other days–rough ones–i might think that I don’t have five things to be grateful for, so I’ll write down my basics, my health, my husband and daughter, their health my animals, my home, my friends, and the comfortable bed that I’m about to get into as well as the fact that the day’s over. That’s okay. Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgment of what is working in our lives can help us not only survive but surmount our difficulties. ”
“Once we take stock of our lives and let gratitude begin its transformative work, the next step on the path unfolds naturally. When we appreciate how much we have, we feel the urge to pare down,get back to basics, and learn what is essential for our happiness. We long to realize what is really important.
Many people believe simplicity implies doing without. On the contrary. True simplicity as a conscious life choice illuminates our lives from within. True simplicity is both buoyant and bountiful, able to liberate depressed spirits from the bondage and burden of extravagance and excess.”
“There is an immediate emotional and psychological payoff to getting our houses in order.
” No woman can think clearly when constantly surrounded by clutter, chaos, and confusion, no matter who is responsible for it. Begin to think of order not as a strait-jacket of “shoulds” (make the bed, wash the dishes, take out the garbage) but as a shape–the foundation–for the beautiful life you are creating. It may be as simple as putting something back that you take out, hanging up something you take off, or teaching those who live with you to do the same for the common good of all. ”
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes, ah, that is hwere the art resides. Artur Schnabel
“Harmony is the inner cadence of contentment we feel when the melody of life is in tune. When somehow we’re able to strike the right chord–to balance the expectations of our families and our responsibilities in the world on the one hand with our inner needs for spiritual growth and personal expression on the other. This is one of the most difficult challenges any woman faces because it requires that we make choices every day.”
While the Simple Abundance path is gentle, its lessons are powerful. First of all, we learn to be grateful no matter what our circumstances may. In offering gratitude for our real lives, we discover how to change them for the better. As we embrace simplicity, we learn that less is truly more. This freedom encourages us to bring order to our affairs and cultivate harmony in our inner world. Going at our own pace, learning to recognize our limitations, appreciating our progress, we weave the lessons into the fabric of our daily moments until they become apart of us.
It is in the details of life that beauty is reveled, sustained and nurtured.”
With as eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy , we see into the life of things. William Wadsworth
The simple Abundant journey takes us to undiscovered territory. We learn each day how cultivating gratitude tills the soil of our soul and the how the seeds of simplicity and order send their roots down deep into the earth of our everyday existence. As we progress, harmony inspires us with quiet courage to create an authentic life for ourselves and those we love. With patience beauty blossoms and our hearts experience not only happiness, which often is fleeting, but a wellspring of joy that refreshes and renews.
Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy.”
Accepting Real Life
(This thought was huge in the way I began to consider my life.)
“Accepting and blessing our circumstances is a powerful tool for transformation. In fact, this potent combination is a spiritual elixir that can work miracles in our lives.
What is acceptance? Acceptance is surrendering to what is; our circumstances, our feelings, our problems, our financial status, our work, our health, our relationships with other people, the delay of our dreams. Before we can change anything in our life we have recognize that this is the way it’s meant to be right now. For me, acceptance has become what I call the long sigh of the soul. It’s the closed eyes in prayer, perhaps even the quiet tears. It’s “all right” as in “All right, You lead, I’ll follow.” and it’s “all right” as in “Everything is going to turn out all right.” This is simply part of the journey.
Over the years I have discovered that much of my struggle to be content despite out side circumstances has arisen when I stubbornly resisted what was actually happening in my life at the present moment. But I have learned that when I surrender to the reality of a particular situation–when i don’t continue to resist, but accept– a softening in my soul occurs. Suddenly I am able to open up to receive all the goodness and abundance available to be because acceptance brings with it so much relief and release.” (It’s called GRACE. me)
“Whatever situation exists in your life right now, accept it. Cast a glance around and acknowledge what is going on. This is my tiny kitchen with the dirty floor, this is how much I weigh, this is my checking account balance, this is where I am right now. This is that is really happening in my life at the present moment. this is okay. This is real life.”
Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist. Natalie Goldberg
“After accepting our present circumstances, no matter what they are, we must learn to bless them.
Through your gritted teeth if necessary.
. . . blessing whatever vexes us is the spiritual surrender that can change even troublesome situations for the better. Blessing the circumstances in our lives also teaches us to trust. ”
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:32-33 (my addition)
Embracing Joyful Simplicities
Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow more bewildering and so each year we need all the more to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities. —Woman’s Home Companion, December 1935
” To keep our daily round from being all drudgery, we’ve got to savor the art of the small: discovering diminutive delights that bring us peace and pleasure.”
This is a daybook, meaning there is a reading for each day. I haven’t read through the whole book. I go to parts of it now and then; my book is very underlined and written in, thoughts and scriptures, question marks and exclamation points. As with everything, I take what I can use and let the rest be. There are other exercises in the book that I had fun with these caused me to think about who I am and what I like, what I wanted in life. I have enjoyed the journey thus far. If you get the book, I’d suggest reading the section at the end of each month; these lists give ideas of how to incorporate the book’s ideas into the month.
I think I’ll start reading it again this year, so expect snippets in ‘what’s on my mind.’
This book is still on the book store shelves. I haven’t looked for it in used book stores, but it is probably there too.