I am reminded this Thanksgiving of the bounty of my life. My family, my health, my self-expression, my freedoms, my dogs! I am acutely aware that there are many people throughout the world who are suffering, and it reminds me that above all, I am grateful for my life.
I recognize that my “bounty” is an obligation – to appreciate what I have, to share what I can, to be the fullest expression of myself, to love fully and most importantly, to be grateful. Cultivating gratitude is conscious and daily work, whether it is simply waking to a new day, having food, clothing, shelter, having choice, having a voice.
In practicing gratitude, the cloak of entitlement is stripped away, revealing to me that although I work hard and I try to be a good person and make a difference in the world, the invisible force of grace has companioned me, as there are so many people who work hard, who try to do good in the world, and who suffer through oppression of one sort or another.
This year, my awareness of this has grown, and I have committed to practicing “radical gratitude.” By this I mean, allowing my gratitude to move me to action and go beyond my comfort level or my complacency to effect deep and abiding change. We are so used to organizing in protest of something; I’d like to organize in gratitude of something, allowing the expansiveness that accompanies opening my heart to be a force of change.
There’s a moving quote by John F. Kennedy that captures the essence of gratitude.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Thanksgiving wishes to all, and my deep and enduring gratitude for the bounty of life that we celebrate.