Gratitude for the Posts on Gratitude
Thirty days ago today I started NaBloPoMo. It was sort of a whim. I decided to do my daily posts on gratitude, also on a whim, since I thought my chances of actually writing something every day would be better if I had a theme. As it was November and Thanksgiving and all, gratitude seemed like a reasonable choice. And that turned out to be one of those things, as Ruby from the Blue Window blog said once, to be something that I said yes to that has changed my life without having ever thought much about it.
Because, as I come to the end of these thirty days, much to my surprise, I do find myself changed in some rather significant ways by this experience. Changed by this simple act of looking for the good things, the things in each day for which I could indeed be grateful, the things which blessed me, the things which gladdened my heart, lifted my spirit and warmed my soul.
Shortly before Thanksgiving I started thinking about writing something to sum up what the experience of the gratitude posts has been like for me. What came to my mind was the movie Pollyanna. I started thinking about the theme of that movie, that transformation can come of looking for the good in people and circumstances, from what Pollyanna called her “Glad Game.” And in the synchronous way of these things, which totally delights but no longer even really surprises me, there on Thanksgiving Eve, what should appear in Diane's beautiful sermon, but that very Pollyanna story! I sat stunned and in tears reading that sermon. Once again, something to be grateful for! I first encountered Pollyanna at about age ten. And even then, sitting in that dark Catholic school gym, I think I knew she was onto something. Something perhaps I could not articulate, but a concept that was formative and important for me. Something that now I would describe as some of the spiritual teachers do; that being, where you place your attention, your heart will be also. Something that my head has known for a long time perhaps, but that NaBloPoMo Gratitude #'s 1-29 have taught my heart and soul as well.
Early in the month of NaBloPoMo Gratitude posts, there were those nights when I sat paralyzed in front of the laptop thinking “Now what am I going to post tonight? What is it today I am grateful for?” But inevitably, sometimes slowly, something would come welling up, and I would know, “Yes, yes, this thing, this small piece of my life, today I am blessed by this, today I am grateful for this, I truly am.” And as the days passed, I started realizing something rather amazing. I noticed that I started looking at life in a new way…. That more and more my attention began dwelling in a new place. I became conscious that I was focusing on the good in the circumstances and people of my life. That was actually becoming more grateful, and more joyful, and more compassionate, and more open to those little moments of wonder. I felt myself blessed. I felt myself beloved of God. And I found myself being more loving, acting in more compassionate and generous ways.
Over these thirty days this has gone from merely blog posting to spiritual practice to a circle of gratitude. Giving and receiving, receiving and giving. And all because of a simple whim. Or grace. I’m going with grace. Thanks be to God.