What is gratitude?  Gratitude is a sense of thankfulness and appreciation.  We are all grateful when we experience something big, something significant.  We are grateful when our work is recognized with a job promotion, we are grateful when a loved one recovers from a serious illness, or when we are given the opportunity to experience something on our bucket list.  And many of us are grateful for the smaller things -  perfect weather for a family event, a gift of theater tickets, or an unexpected afternoon free from work or responsibilities. 

But what does it mean to live in a place of gratitude?  Simply, it means to keep thoughts of thankfulness and appreciation front and center each day.  Living in a place of gratitude is the ability to walk the path of our life and find the beauty in every day.  But, this can be challenging, particularly when we are faced with a crisis or great loss.  Amid chaos, it is difficult to see the blessings that will result from our experience, and the fear that oftentimes accompanies chaos will create a barrier to feelings of thankfulness and appreciation.

Having an awareness of the bigger picture is important to understanding what it means to live in a place of gratitude.  Faith in the knowledge that whatever we are experiencing, both the joys and the sorrows, is all part of the journey of our lives.  And because our lives are dynamic and constantly changing, we have many opportunities to experience growth through the changes.  The growth itself may be painful, but the lesson we receive from the growth is big and significant.  Something to be grateful for.  An awareness of the bigger picture, coupled with the ability to see beauty in the middle of turmoil and pain, is the foundation of living in a place of gratitude. 

We can begin the practice of gratitude by thinking of some things for which we are grateful.  We may live in our dream home, or we may stay in a single room, either way we have a place to lay our head each night.  We may love our job, or we may hate it, either way it puts food on the table.  But just because we can find the blessings in the small things, does not mean that we can’t change something in our lives that we don’t like.  In fact, living a life of gratitude puts things into perspective, allowing us to enhance our circumstances or change them altogether. 

A natural result of living in a place of gratitude is the impact that we have on others.  When we live a life of gratitude we can be a person of increase to those around us.  Because we are grateful for the car that we drive, we can appreciate and be kind to the clerk behind the counter.  Because we are grateful that we have the resources to have a night out, we can appreciate the service community that pours our drinks and serves our food.  We honor others when we let them know that we are thankful for them and appreciate what they do. 

Living in a place of gratitude is not always easy, especially when faced with hardship, and being a person of increase doesn’t happen with every encounter with others, but living our lives from a place of gratitude will lead to a life filled with joy and peace. 

Love & Light