Grace and Gratitude

It’s that time of year when everybody’s blog has the topic of giving thanks. While this should be an everyday practice in a universe so full of blessings, the Thanksgiving holiday harkens back to a time when the end of November signified that the long summer’s work was done and the harvest was finally in. It was a time of abundance, and we celebrated and shared our harvest with others.How different today’s world, where the Occupy movement is making it painfully aware how abundance is not shared with 99% of the population. As this movement grows and evolves, I give thanks that there are people willing to give their time and suffer cold and hardship to make a point that stands for us all.

We live in an abundant universe. Each pinpoint of light we see is one of billions of stars in billions of galaxies.  Apple trees create an abundance of apples. No one is tested to see if they are worthy to eat them. Flowers on a hillside bloom in profusion, regardless of whether there is anyone to see them. There is so much to be thankful for.

But we must ask ourselves: In an abundant universe, where the majority of people are not living in abundance, where did we go so wrong?

I’ve recently been reading Charles Eisenstein’s book, SACRED ECONOMICS, a book for which I give profuse thanks.  Eisenstein shows how the money system itself is at fault for our crises, and how it will recreate this gap between the rich and the poor again and again unless it fundamentally shifts. The way debt and interest work to constantly require more of our natural world to be converted into currency is a system that can only bankrupt our natural resources and eventually collapse. Sacred Economics explores avant-garde concepts of the New Economics, including negative-interest currencies, local currencies, resource-based economics, gift economies, and the restoration of the commons. To catch a bit of Eisenstein talking about the Occupy movement on You tube, go here: (OWS The Revolution is Love)

The root of gratitude is grace – more evident in Spanish or Italian (Gracias or Grazie). If we are not living in abundance, we have turned too far from the natural world. If we are not living in gratitude, perhaps we have turned away from grace.

Opening to grace is enhanced by an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is enhanced by opening to grace. We say Grace before meals, but too often the words are empty phrases and habits, rather than an invitation to open to the flow of grace.

If you have plenty, be thankful for it. Better yet, share it with others. If you give thanks, give it deeply, openly. Let others around you know what you are thankful for. Express it loudly and often.

If you give a gift to a child and they express sincere gratitude, you are more likely to gift them again. Is it so different for the heart of the world? Abundance isn’t about having more. It’s realizing how much you already have and being grateful for it. It is appreciating all that is, all that we don’t see – the hands that grew and shipped and prepared our food, the people that love and put up with us, the miracles that surround us every day.

What you appreciate appreciates. This Thanksgiving season, give thanks on more than just one day. Give thanks for all that you are, all that you are becoming, and all that will be.

~Anodea Judith November 2011