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Archive for December, 2009

Thanksgiving has just past – my very first one here in America!

In Australia we don’t celebrate this holiday, as this is traditionally an American holiday based on American Indian appreciation and to give thanks to God for the harvest and express gratitude to others for our many blessings.

This is an interesting and very worthwhile thing to do – to give thanks to God for our many blessings. But what does it mean to give thanks to God? How do we show we our gratitude and appreciation all that we have been given in life? Do we think about God? Do we pray?

For me, to really show gratitude for this life and everything in it is to live in the present moment, to really live. By this I mean to open up all of our five senses and really take in all that is life.

For example; when we eat our meals (Thanksgiving or otherwise), to be present and conscious as we do so; savoring the flavor, the taste, the texture, and being present for all of it. How often do we eat on the fly? Quickly scoffing something down so we can move onto the next task. Perhaps we consume our food in a total daydream, completely unaware and sometimes even surprised when we find our plate already empty before we even knew it – or we find ourselves so full that we could burst, because weren’t present enough to realize we should have stopped long ago. Maybe we eat while we are doing something else, like watching TV or being in front of the computer, and do so in an unconscious mechanical fashion. Where is the gratitude in that?

Or when we walk down the street – to be present and aware, taking in everything around us – to see the trees and hear the sound the leaves make as the wind moves through them – to feel the wind and the sun against our skin, to look into the eyes of passers by and smile, feeling love for humanity. To me this is gratitude. How often do we rush from place to place, lost in our thoughts and paying no attention to the reality around us? How often is the destination more important than the journey? How often do we really look? Listen? Feel? Smell? Because if we don’t, where is the gratitude in that? We often take for granted these simple things, but these simple things are SO valuable and should be savored. Just ask the blind man, or the man in a wheel-chair, or the man confined to prison.

When we take a shower which can be such a wonderful pleasure, how present are we? To feel the water running over our skin, to take in the scent of the soap and to really feel the texture of the lather over us, to really enjoy every moment of this luxury… or do we spend our time thinking about all we have on for the day, about what we are going to wear, replaying conversations we had the day before, fantasizing about conversations we should have had or are going to have, stuck in a daydream of thoughts.

We are given this amazing life, but just how present are we for it? How are we living it?

For me, showing gratitude is to live in awareness, to be present and conscious of everything around us and of every precious moment; making the effort to break free of the perpetual daydream that clouds us from reality and to really live this precious life we have been given.

Prayer is a wonderful thing, but if we just forget ourselves after we have given thanks to the Divine for what we have, and don’t pay attention to this precious moment we are in, then it seems to me we are not following through on our words, and our words are just empty.

I believe this is what giving thanks is all about – not just giving it, but living it too!

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