What You Appreciate Appreciates!

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.”
–Meister Eckhart          


Imagine buying a similar toy for each of two children. One child opens up the package and frowns, puts it down, then runs away to do something else. The other child lights up with excitement and says, “Thank you. This is just what I’ve been wanting!” Which one inspires you to brings gifts to next time?” Is the creative spirit any different?

An attitude of gratitude is the key to abundance. Not only do we feel more abundant because we are actually appreciating what we have–instead of whining about what we don’t have–we are opening to the grace of the universe in a way that invites more grace to flow through us. Grace is the root of the word gratitude, reflected in the Spanish gracias, or the Italian, graci.

Well, this blog was supposed to go out for Thanksgiving, but due to computer snafus, we missed the date, but why shouldn’t we be thankful every day?  Still, we have even more holidays coming up so let me take this opportunity to thank all of you– those who are on the path trying to heal themselves and make the world a better place, my students, those who have signed on to teleseminars, flown to workshops, bought books and CDs, those who are teaching others. Thank you for all the hard work you do!

Thanksgiving is Forgiving

Some of you may be sharing the holidays coming up with difficult relatives. This brings you in contact with people you might not otherwise choose to spend time with–people of different political views, social ideas, or levels of awareness and maturity. You may think you have done all this spiritual or psychological work, but given an hour with your family of origin, you suddenly regress to a state you thought you’d left behind years ago.

Try saying an inner “thank you” for the people that challenge you the most. Replace judgment with appreciation. Even if it is only appreciating how stuck they are in their views, you can say: “Look how passionate they are about their beliefs!” Or if your mother is quick to criticize, you can say, “Look at how she really wants the best.” When you feel most aggravated, try smiling and giving a compliment. If you feel triggered, try being amused inside at how perfect it is to have such a clear demonstration of your work.

What we appreciate, appreciates in value. When someone gives us a compliment, we shine and try to do even better. When we feel loved and accepted, we don’t have to resort to our old defenses. When we feel understood, we don’t have to repeat ourselves.

It’s easy to be thankful for what’s good. The real challenge is to be thankful for what is difficult. But that’s where our greatest lessons lie. And our greatest opportunity for growth.

I leave you, then, with a poem by W. S. Merwin that seems fitting for our times.

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals, we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
by W.S Merwin
from Rain in the Trees, 1998