In infinite ways, grateful living offers an unparalleled pathway to the experience of “enough,” and even more than enough, in our lives.
Grateful living, or living in touch with the great fullness of life, has the ability to significantly and positively alter our lives and the larger world in which we live.
Grateful living asks us to purposefully direct our awareness to notice all that is already fully present and abundant in our lives – from the tiniest things of beauty to the grandest of our blessings – and in so doing, to take nothing for granted. Grateful living as a practice powerfully affirms that we can be in charge of our attention, and can point it towards that which serves the fullness of our learning, our lives, our relationships, and the world. And, amazingly, every single moment can offer us this opportunity…not a single moment need escape our gratefulness, even if it is simply the opportunity to learn from that which is most difficult. With a great, full heart, we have the choice to be in touch with the “fullness” of everything.
In infinite ways, grateful living offers an unparalleled pathway to the experience of “enough,” and even more than enough, in our lives. When we take nothing in life for granted, we open ourselves to the possibility of incessant amazement. Suddenly, the neglected corners of our homes are rich with things for which to be thankful. What seemed lacking in our relationship now feels full to overflowing. Our bodies are made of the miraculous . Electricity itself blows our minds. The earth can seem an endless symphony of nourishment and beauty. When we live gratefully, our days can be one discovery after another of blessing, good fortune, and opportunity.
When we are in touch with enough-ness – when we feel like we are and have enough – we become less susceptible to cultural norms of complaint, envy, scarcity, comparison, and insatiability; all sources of suffering and separation from ourselves, each other, and the planet. Separated from what matters, we more easily get caught in the “more is better” mentality and it is challenging to step out of this relentless quest. We are so busy unconsciously rushing towards more, as Soul of Money author Lynne Twist says, we rush right over/past “enough” and do not even notice it. The experience of sufficiency connects us with contentment, and contentment is good for our personal well-being, our circles of relationship, and the sustainability of the Earth and all that we hold dear.
When we are awake to all that is enough in our lives, we can turn our attention beyond ourselves from a place of contentment.
In this way, grateful living is an antidote to scarcity and insatiability. And it is radical because it establishes the only real, lasting conditions for generosity, kindness, compassion and the impulse to serve. When we are awake to all that is enough in our lives, we can turn our attention beyond ourselves from a place of contentment. We need to feel our own fullness in order to have anything truly meaning-full to offer the world.
Since scarcity and insatiability are the drivers for so much that is unsustainable and unjust in our world right now, grateful living can be seen as not merely a salve for complacency and self-satisfaction, but as a protective impulse that wakes us up to actively appreciate and act on behalf of the things for which we feel grateful. Gratefulness has the power to awaken us toward greater purpose — to tend and preserve the things we know are worth cherishing, and all the fragile blessings of this life that are charged to our care.
Kristi Nelson is the Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living.
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