I am moved to do so, after reading Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are...
We miss so many of the opportunities we could be grateful for - for they are truly the simple things that fill our quotidian life and endeavors - a smile, a touch, a good cup of coffee, the sunrise, a walk through the woods, or your neighborhood, precious time spent with a loved one... There is such beauty in simplicity and often, it is so easy to miss...
And it takes a snow storm - no - a blizzard - to slow me down - to show me the way of simplicity, of gratitude, of the exquisite beauty of a storm raging without any checks and balances, with nothing to corner it in...
When it ends, everything is blanketed in stillness... There are no paths or streets - and no demarcations between one dwelling and the next... All of our self-imposed separations have been erased... There are no "Jews or Greeks, or Gentiles" as scripture notes - there simply is no "you" or "me." We are all ONE in this winter wonderland!
I sit in the whiteness of it all - stretching forth and holding court - with no beginning and no ending to its borders, and I take up my pen in hand and begin my list...
I write... I put down my pen to paper to begin my exercise... I am slow... I, who wrote so many stories and "books" dating back to the dawn of my own life, now find this process so clumsy. It is slow and awkward. Even difficult. This is what word processing has done to me. It has eliminated skills and softened calluses, and yet its potent message is simply to slow down. I HAVE to, in order to write. But I must also slow down to relish the space and time in between and enter deeply into the Present Moment...
And why write this list?
"One act of thanksgiving
when things go wrong with us,
is worth a thousand thanks
when things are agreeable
to our inclinations.
~ St John of the Cross
Thanksgiving creates an attitude of gratitude... And for that, I read recently - we need "altitude." We must soar above our problems and biases, and our stubbornness. We must learn to relinquish our closely guarded inclinations. As the Bhagavad Gita teaches, we cannot solve the problems we have at hand if we are not willing to look at them from a higher perspective.
"Thanksgiving creates abundance,
and the miracle of multiplying
happens when I give thanks."
~ Ann Voskamp
I read that we fail as human beings when we choose ingratitude over thanksgiving...
"The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything.
He who has learned this, knows what it means to live.
He has penetrated the whole mystery of life:
Giving thanks for everything."
~ Albert Schweitzer
In order to live a life of thanksgiving, we must first be present to all that is. True joy is only available to us when we let go and allow ourselves to be fully embraced by the present moment. It is here that grace dwells. And joy is embodied. We cannot see it - feel it - touch or taste it anywhere else...
And thus, one small act of thanksgiving becomes radical and counter-cultural in more ways than I could ever begin to list here.
To live a life of gratitude as Ann Voskamp notes, is to:
"Make every moment a cathedral of giving glory...
the moment into a cupola of grace,
an architecture of holiness - a place for God.
That makes NOW a sanctuary."
As the hours upon hours of snow falling and its aftermath creates my own cathedral and sanctuary of Divine Presence, made manifest in simple acts of gratitude, my life slows down to the crawl of the Present Moment... This Holy Instant... This Sacred Moment which is neither here nor there where I am Eternally Home...
And how could I not give thanks for that?