Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Giving of Thanks

Can someone be thankful and worried at the same time?

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”
~Harry A. Ironside

Well, I have to say I agree with Harry! Although it might actually be physically possible to be worried and thankful at the same time, it’s an unlikely mix. At least for myself, I know that when I start paying attention to all the greatness in my life… noticing all of the wonderful things, both large and small, that I have to be grateful for… there is a part of me that feels calmed and less worried.

Still… there are definitely times when I am both thankful for the abundance of material wealth in my life… my car, my house, my computer, my phone, electricity, running hot water!! And at the same time I worry about paying the bills and how the latest economic recession will impact my life. So, I guess on the one hand I do believe a person can be both worried and thankful… but maybe not both in the same moment.

So, of course the question is, “Why do we not spend more time being thankful… and how do we shift that?” There is the evolutionary theory that paying attention to goodness did not keep you from dying, whereas paying attention to any and all potential danger could potentially save your life.  I don’t know if you ‘ve noticed this before, or if it’s just me… but doesn’t it seem like people don’t get nearly as “into it” when you talk about how great your life is going… as they do when you complain about all the obstacles in your life? I think this instinct is intuitive. And yet… it’s beneficial to shift this train of thought, which begs the other part of the question, how do we shift it? It’s valuable to consciously consider how we might shift to a more thankful perspective… if for no other reason than that the benefits are so huge!!

So, the question becomes… how do we shift that instinctual perspective of paying attention to what’s wrong to the less automatic awareness of what’s right? Well… there are plenty of ideas on the subject, but none that seem to get the amount of press as a practice of gratitude.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”  ―    Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I believe that last quote by Ralph to be true… it’s also a tough one to truly grasp in the more challenging moments of life. All things contribute to my advancement. Really? ALL things? It takes the practice of giving thanks to a whole new level. I’m thankful I didn’t get that job promotion… I’m thankful that loan fell through… I’m thankful… well… you get the gist! Being thankful for all things, with the belief that all things lend themselves to our greater spiritual well-being and growth, is the ultimate in Thanksgiving.

The giving of thanks, if you will, is one of the most spiritual and uplifting acts you can perform in a day. Live… Love… Laugh… and give THANKS! Wishing you all an amazingly wonderful day of Thanks… May laughter, joy and gratitude fill the hearts of you and yours!  ~Rashel

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7 thoughts on “Giving of Thanks

  1. Thanksgiving is not something that we are familiar with in Ireland or the UK. However, I love the concept and indeed the practise of ‘gratitude’. Saying ‘thanks’ for all the things in our life, either wanted or unwanted, seems almost to reinforce that grating parental voice, “Don’t forget to say thank you”. However, I find gratitude, to be a personal, spiritual and calming practise. To summarise, thanksgiving seems to be the personal practise of gratitude made public. I think we are talking about a cultural difference here, but I’ll take gratitude and perhaps leave thanksgiving on the shelf just for now. 🙂 But a very Happy Thanksgiving to you, I hear its a big thing over the pond.

  2. Pingback: Giving Thanks « survivingmiddleage

  3. I think being “concistently” in gratitude is always the challenge. Hindsight is the gift we are given, at times, that allows us to see that our own ego and selfwill being denied, as it turns out, may have been a good thing. Some of the biggest spiritual gifts in my life have come to me after enduring some of the hardest and painful of lifelessons. Love your insights in this area 🙂 Love Mama

  4. gratitude works for me [most of the time….sometimes i do need to work at it!]

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