Gratitude is Attitude

Tomorrow is a US national holiday–Thanksgiving. It is national “go home to be with family” day. Or in my case, go to the Chicago ‘burbs to be with family.

We have a somewhat romanticized recollection of the first English settlers in Massachusetts who came over here totally unprepared. They were helped by the natives who already lived here (and whom they would subsequently kill off) to survive that first winter. They had a banquet in gratitude for the help.

So, I’ve been turning to a collection of gratitude quotes to end my Yoga class.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

I was quite a shy kid and often was afraid to speak up. Yes, that was a long time ago. I’ve made up for it. But I think back on those times when someone did something for me and I didn’t speak up to thank them. So now, I try to thank everyone for everything.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G. K. Chesterton

That is a lot to say from one of the leading thinkers of his time–or any time. Many people are lost in search for happiness. That is the wrong way around. Happiness finds us when we are most focused on gratitude for what others have done.

“‘Enough’ is a feast.” Buddhist proverb

We traditionally have a Thanksgiving meal that is way too much to eat. We feel so miserable that we sleep through the football game. We call it a feast. I had a bad experience with poultry early in life, so I don’t stuff myself with turkey and stuffing. Even so, the temptation to over indulge is great. This saying implies much more than just Thanksgiving dinner. Are we on a quest for ‘more’, or are we content with ‘enough’?

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

And President Kennedy dove right to the core. Gratitude is not a one time expression of “thank you.” Rather, gratitude is the attitude with which we orient our daily lives.

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