Our world moves so fast. Things change in the blink of an eye. Technology is a blessing and a curse. It is so easy to see the glass as half empty. Especially when we feel more isolated, disconnected or overwhelmed.
Giving thanks is a way of finding the ways the glass is half full or more than half full. Whatever we focus on grows. So, if we take the time to reflect on what is good in our lives, to appreciate the people, the creatures and the surroundings that support us, our sense of goodness expands.
Appreciation is good for the heart and soul. It is a kind of spiritual fertilizer. It helps good feelings grow within us, and it helps good feelings grow in the others we care about. Giving thanks and appreciation invites us to slow down, to be present in the moment, to breathe, to feel and to introspect. Once we have taken the time to introspect, giving thanks invites us to express what we have come to appreciate to our friends, family, colleagues and larger community.
Appreciation nurtures good will, which is another magic spiritual force. Good will invites collaboration. Good will invites generosity and kindness. Good will invites qualities of the heart, which make each moment more enjoyable and fulfilling. Good will helps make projects more possible and visions more realizable.
Giving thanks is also good self-care. It is a way of being kind to ourselves. It is a way to really savor what we love, what is important and what might be too easy to take for granted if we don't slow down and take stock.
When I sit with a group of people who together slow down, meditate and focus on what they have to be grateful for, I often hear realizations that many of the things that cause worry and anxiety are first world problems. Most of the people in my world have food, clothing and shelter. Most people in my world really do have enough. When we look at the people in CA whose homes and lives have been decimated by out of control fires, or even more locally at the people displaced by the Columbia Gas Explosions, the gift of having a safe, warm home becomes very clear.
Giving thanks for health, for creative pursuits, for having enough enrich our spirits and our lives. If we use the critical mind to find fault, we can always generate a laundry list of issues. Joining the mind, heart and spirit in listing what is good will feed the soul and help us find peace in the moment and over time as well.