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Discover this Principle

Explore the principle Appreciation Is Generative through this curated collection of resources and practices.


Standing our Sacred, Grateful Ground

by Kristi Nelson
Grateful living asks us to connect with those things that matter most deeply to us,…
stars night

Are You Thankful Or Are You Grateful?

by Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB
Losing our life to Life itself is the secret of gratefulness.

Appreciation Is Generative

Appreciation brings about a shift from passively to actively engaging with life. We recognize that we have choices when it comes to orienting our attention. We see that we can notice and respond to the opportunities we have in each moment — not only our circumstances — and it shapes everything. Awareness makes it possible to become active practitioners in shaping our experience. Focusing on noticing and nurturing what we appreciate is a matter of agency. Doing this in all the ways that we can, whenever we can, is an important aspect of Grateful Living.

If you actively tend anything, it is likely to flourish. Tend a houseplant, a pet, a room in your home, or one of your core values, and you will see a response. Tend the streets around where you live by picking up litter. Tend your community by getting involved. Tend the well-being of a local business by choosing to be a regular customer. Tending a person is a most powerful appreciation practice. In Dr. Edward Tronick’s well-known Still Face Experiment, simply offering or depriving infants of a smile had a profound impact on their emotional well-being and resilience. We are all built to be responsive to affection and attention.

When we release expectation and invite appreciation, all the moments of our lives become openings and opportunities.

Kristi Nelson

This principle asks that what we say we value is actually reflected in our choices and actions. It is easy to espouse values and to speak of appreciation, but it is a whole other practice to invest ourselves in the things that matter to us. Walking the talk. Practicing what we preach. These are barometers for integrity. What we appreciate most in life should be obvious to an onlooker. Grateful Living challenges us to align our actions with our values.

There are so many opportunities in a day to tend the things that we value, and to bring them more alive in our attention. The nourishment that we can give to the things and people we care about is virtually endless when we actively appreciate them. Investment matters. Care wants to be shown. And in the process of tending what we love, we are enlivened. In appreciating others, we feel more interconnection and belonging. Tending the Earth reminds us that we are in this together and that everything we do matters and makes a difference. Celebrating what we already have is an act of cherishing and helps us feel content and replete. Given our inherent belonging, the more we share our appreciation for the gifts of life, the more everything around us thrives, and so do we.

Excerpted from Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Power of Taking Nothing for Granted

Wake Up Grateful

The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted

What does it mean to truly live gratefully, every day? Wake Up Grateful unlocks the path to recognizing abundance in every moment, and gives readers the tools to bring this transformational shift in perspective into their daily lives.

Digging Deeper

For continued exploration of tending what you value, dive into these additional resources.

Cornucopia of squash on the ground in fall

Blessings and Practices for a Grateful Thanksgiving

by The Grateful Living Team
A collection of Thanksgiving resources — both old and new — handpicked by the Grateful…
Overhead view of person wearing Converse sneakers standing on a stone surrounded by fall leaves on the ground
Stories of Grateful Living

Gratitude Lists Didn’t Work For Me

by Andrea Gibson
In this Story of Grateful Living, Andrea Gibson shares their story of learning to be…
Headshot of a Black man standing outside under the share of a tree
Bright Lights/Young Lives

Bright Lights/Young Lives: Greg

by The Grateful Living Team
In this short video, Greg Corbin shares his story of expressing gratefulness through relationships and…


by Brad Aaron Modlin
in the room of bellies and receding hairlines and big feet,in the room of wrinkles…
A woman laughing while sitting in front of a wall near light cast through a window

What is the Difference Between Gratitude and Grateful Living?

by The Grateful Living Team
Gratitude comes easily when things are going well, but how can you connect with gratitude…
A group of incarcerated men sitting at round tables in a large room for a painting class on gratefulness practices
Stories of Grateful Living

Unexpected Grace and Gratitude in Prison

by Brooke Rothshank
In this story of Grateful Living, studio artist Brooke Rothshank reflects on finding perspective and…

The Way of Grateful Living

Grateful Living is supported by guiding pathways, daily practices, habits of mind,
and behaviors that make us more appreciative and available to life. 

These Five Guiding Principles are touchstones to support your practice:

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Life is a Gift

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Everything is Surprise

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The Ordinary Is Extraordinary

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Appreciation Is Generative

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Love is transformative