“Gratitude is an opener of locked-up blessings.” – Marianne Williamson
I just love Thanksgiving. It is a holiday focused on gratitude. It is a day to appreciate the blessings in life and take notice of the abundance that surrounds us. There is so much that we take for granted. What would life be like if we lived everyday as a ‘Thanksgiving Day?’ I once heard Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, discuss the importance of gratitude. He said to imagine the worst toothache pain you ever had. Feel how uncomfortable it was and remember the intensity of the pain. Now give thanks, there is no toothache today. How easily we forget to be grateful for not having toothache pain once it is gone. There is so much wisdom in his words.
In day to day life we get caught up in the drama, the rushing around, the responsibilities and the busyness that it is easy to forget to be grateful. We forget that in this moment, we do have enough. We are alive, so there is enough air to breath, food to digest and energy in our bodies. Are we grateful for the bed that we slept in, the heat in the house or the food in the refrigerator? Most of these things we take for granted until they aren’t there. We take for granted that the lights will turn on when we flick the switch, but it is only when there is a power outage that we remember how grateful we are for the convenience of electricity.
Is it only when we are faced with an illness that we are grateful for our bodies? When was the last time you were grateful to your heart for beating or your red blood cells for carrying oxygen? What an amazing miracle our bodies are! Albert Einstein said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” When we look at the world as though everything is a miracle, there is gratitude in everything. Thanksgiving does not need to be a once a year holiday. It can be lived daily. Thich Nhat Hanh sums up beautifully what living in gratitude can be, “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”