This week, on the eve of American Thanksgiving, I propose that we journey together to clear the way for the spontaneous upwelling of gratitude in our lives.
I am not a fan of manufacturing gratitude. There’s subtle aggression at work in the common belief that we should always find things to be grateful about. We force it and think that forcing it is a necessary condition of becoming the kind of people who meet life, and misfortune, with greatness of heart.
But we cannot get from here to there without being real. I, for one, am a big fan of waving my fist at God as a form of prayer. Until we dare to be brave and honest with ourselves about how we really feel, there is no hope of deepening our connection with the divine or growing in generosity of heart.
Sure, profound love and gratitude for life abide at the center of each of us. That’s our normal, natural state of being in the world.
This well of gratitude, however, can be blocked by layers of judgment and unmetabolized feelings. Those who practice feeling their feelings, no matter how difficult, grow into people who can one day meet life with a grateful and fearless heart.
Back to the agression: it is not up to our minds, or our culture, or our religions to dictate how we “should” feel and when. You can’t actually legislate that shit from above, and if you make a habit of trying to do so anyway, you will find that the inexhaustible well of gratitude at your center is increasingly difficult to locate and choked off with rubble.
To be truly grateful, to practice giving thanks as a nation as Covid-19 deaths mount, food lines lengthen, and political theater threatens to spill into violence, let us journey down into the terrain of our souls where our true feelings roam wild and free.
If there is anger or grief or fear or anything else that seeks our attention before we might drink of the waters of gratitude within, this journey is our chance to show hospitality and deference to these elders. Let us sit at the feet of the uncomfortable teachers in our lives, whomever and whatever they might be, so we might be able to receive their blessings.
Think of someone or something that is especially hard for you to feel grateful for at this time. You don’t have to tell us about it, but make an offering of beauty to this person, feeling, or situation to help you soften in relationship to what is.
To clear the way for the upwelling of spontaneous gratitude in the journey of life.
You are invited to join us for a free online journey circle this Wednesday, November 25 from 4-6 pm PST. Open to all skill levels. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.