The Courage to Imagine…

the inifinite possibilities that life always brings

Posts Tagged ‘Gratitude’

Gratitude Tip: Size Matters

Posted by jeromefaraday on October 17, 2010

I’ve heard it said a lot, mainly by coaches and other leaders, that if you do the small things right, the bigger things tend to take care of themselves. Like all nuggets of wisdom, it has its exceptions, but generally I think it holds true. Now I want to apply it to gratitude.

Nothing is too small to be grateful for. In fact, sometimes the smallest things are those which we need to be the most grateful for because their ‘smallness’ is a sign of how blessed we truly are: housing, food, clean air and water, and even breathing. These aren’t small to people who lack them!

This week, I challenge you to be grateful in every moment. When you remember, look around you and come up with ten things to be thankful about right then and there. Right now, for example, I’m grateful for my computer, the music coming from my computer, home heating, a television, the toys in my house, the kid who plays with them, her health, the safety of my neighborhood, the autumn leaves falling on my lawn, and our collection of funny DVD’s.

Try it. You’ll feel better, more grateful, and closer to God.

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Gratitude Tip: Just Do It

Posted by jeromefaraday on October 11, 2010

The following story is from today’s Sunday mass readings in the Catholic Church. It sums up well the quintessential gratitude tip: just do it.

And as [Jesus] entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”
And as they went they were cleansed.
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;  and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:12-19, RSV)

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Gratitude Tip: Gratitude Blitz

Posted by jeromefaraday on October 3, 2010

Sunday gratitude tip for the week of October 3rd:

Sometimes we all need some kind of fire to get us (or keep us) going. We may keep a gratitude journal or make an effort to stay upbeat, but the weight of the world can sometimes be pretty heavy. Reflecting on a few positiv aspects of our life each evening may not seem to stack up to the overall negativity we perceive in our lives. This is when it’s time for what I like to call the “gratitude blitz.”

Get out a sheet of paper or get up a word processing program and write down one hundred things for which you’re grateful. That’s right, not five, not ten, not even fifty, but one hundred! Be general, be specific, include past and present (hold off on future for a moment; more on that next Sunday) and above all enjoy the feeling of the good things God has given you in life.

After you’ve written these one hundred things, keep the list close by and whenever you’re starting to feel negative or down, whip it out. Even better, add ten or twenty more each time you read it. It’ll be a constant reminder of how much you have to be grateful for.

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Gratitude Tip: Gratitude in Action

Posted by jeromefaraday on September 26, 2010

We’ve all been in this situation: someone thanks us, perhaps profusely, with their mouth. However, their actions say something different. While I and many other self help types will often mention gratitude, it’s usually in the context of helping ourselves. In other words, gratitude transforms us. However, we can’t forget another important part of the equation: gratitude changes the world too. Because it changes others.

Simply saying we’re thankful for someone isn’t enough if it doesn’t transform our very being. We have to turn gratitude from a mental emotion (a good start) into a guiding principle of life that impels us to change our actions. This new way of thinking and acting then leads to a different world.

How can we take our gratitude from a mental exercise to a living reality? When you fill out your gratitude journal, list one action step with each entry. Give a concrete way you can incarnate your gratitude for that person. And then do it!

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Abundance vs. Materialism (Part 1)

Posted by jeromefaraday on September 13, 2010

Discovering the law of attraction via friends and The Secret has transformed my life. There’s no other way to describe it. However, I’ve always had problems with one issue: the seeming closeness of abundance and materialism. In fact, based on my web research, it seems to be a primary objection to theories of abundance and the law of attraction.

Some people have horrible views of money and wealth that come from deeply ingrained patterns they learned from others. Often, these people have good intentions. For example, someone may think Jesus wants them to be poor and miserable or that money is just something the elites use to control others. Others see the rabid consumerism of our culture and think (rightly) that there has to be a better way. And because ‘new though’ teaching often speaks of abundance, attracting wealth, etc. they just see it as another form of unbridled materialism.

I don’t think abundance has any connection with materialism. In fact, abundance, properly understood, is a completely opposite concept. Here’s why.

First, abundance is a concept rooted in positive emotions. Everything I’ve read about the law of attraction states that in order for it to be successful the person must tap into feelings of joy, happiness, excitement, etc. The feelings must be (or become) genuine and deep-rooted. Now, materialism, by contrast, is rooted in despair, which is a negative emotion and the functional opposite of joy. The materialist consumes to feel happy. The abundantist (neologism) feels happy and receives things, people, etc. to multiply it.

Second, abundance must always not only bless ourselves but also others. In other words, the blessings (material or otherwise) we receive are meant to be shared and distributed to others. In fact, it could be argued that a truly abundant person blesses others far more than he blesses himself (look at Mother Teresa). Materialism, on the other hand, is about placating a need (I almost used the word blessing here) of the individual, often at the expense of other people (e.g. I want that toy and you can’t have it.)

Third, abundance flows from gratitude. I’ve posted on this before and will again, but gratitude is the basis for all blessings. If we are not truly grateful for what we have now, we won’t enjoy any excess. In fact, that’s materialism in a nutshell: not being satisfied with our possessions and always needing more and more. The abundant person can treasure her possessions, while the materialist always thinks of what to buy next.

Read Part 2

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The Power of Gratitude

Posted by jeromefaraday on September 10, 2010

We all (probably) remember mom strongly encouraging us to write thank you notes to relatives growing up, even though we hated the Bible video game Aunt Reba got us instead of Mortal Kombat. In spite of the complaints, deep down I think we always knew mom was right.

I personally believe that gratitude is the single greatest asset we have in our pursuit of happiness and abundance. And its absence is the single greatest hindrance. Let’s look at a few examples.

Detachment– Ironically, being overly attached to our goals often keeps us from achieving them. It’s the principle that explains why people who desperately want children, but can’t, often end up having one after they adopt. The pressure is off and things happen. People who quit a team, then hit a home run are another example.

Gratitude helps us detach. Why? Because being sincerely grateful for the present means we don’t need the dreams for the future. It’s not that we give them up. Rather, we don’t have to obsess over them and they never feel stressful or like work.

Attracting Abundance- Jesus said if someone is untrustworthy with small things, he or she will essentially be untrustworthy with the big ones too. If someone is miserable and finding fault with a modest income and wealth, then wouldn’t that same person just have more to complain about with abundance?

I believe God gives the best things in life to people who are truly grateful with what they already have. What about those who have a lot of material wealth and aren’t grateful? Well, look at Lindsay Lohan whose riches just give her greater opportunities for misery. If we are grateful for all we currently have we’ll always be happy with the blessings God has given us and prepared to handle what he’s going to send our way.

Creating Reality– I am a firm believer that we create our own reality. It sounds very metaphysical, but look at it this way: some people look at a cityscape and see beauty; others look at the same scene and see something very ugly. Beauty, joy, happiness, and all other emotions are a product of the mind.

Gratitude gives us a great head start in creating a joyful, happy, and hopeful reality. It’s hard to have a negative reality when you’re genuinely grateful for the people, places, and things in your life.

How to Do It– Although tips for expressing gratitude will be a regular feature of this blog, here’s where everyone can start: identify what you’re grateful for. Most people are so busy focusing on stresses, problems, and even goals, they miss the good things in life now. Start a gratitude journal today. Each night resolve to write down at least five people, events, things, etc. that you’re grateful for. If possible share them during family discussion or prayer time. It’s always fun to go back and read old entries too.

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