Guest posting to AnimaMonday Blog

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My thoughts on Land, Sea and Sky with a bit of a twist on the element of Fire 🔥

https://animamonday.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/the-triskelion/

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The Art 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

A Couple of Definitions of Gratitude

“a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power” Harvard Medical School

“gratitude has a dual meaning: a worldly one and a transcendent one. In its worldly sense, gratitude is a feeling that occurs in interpersonal exchanges when one person acknowledges receiving a valuable benefit from another. Gratitude is a cognitive-affective state that is typically associated with the perception that one has received a personal benefit that was not intentionally sought after, deserved, or earned but rather because of the good intentions of another person” (Emmons & Stern, 2013).

Both of these definitions are useful when contemplating gratitude and how to focus on gratitude as a means to improve your mental well-being and develop a positive psychological state. I came across an interesting article, that can be found at the Positive Psychology Program, where they explore in detail the role of gratitude and appreciation in supporting a positive mental attitude.

As a person with an animistic belief system I find the usual definitions of gratitude very interesting but somewhat limited in scope. The Harvard Medical School definition does at least acknowledge the appreciation of something larger than themselves which includes nature and the Spiritual within life, whereas Emmons & Stern have a more limited definition which seems to keep gratitude well within the limits of human interaction. But, as an animist, I have the ability to expand the definition of ‘Person’ to include all ‘persons’ both human persons and non-human persons. Therefore it’s possible for me to feel gratitude to any number of animate and inanimate persons.

Take yesterday for instance. I spent a few hours on our beach enjoying the beautiful weather with my wife, daughter and Jax, one of my grandchildren, here’s a couple of shots showing just how lovely it was.

I later spent some time to reflect upon how much I appreciated the chance to experience this time on the beach with some of the people I love. My very soul is filled with a sense of gratitude I have for being able to live in such a beautiful part of Wales, and to be able to share this time with my family and friends. My sense of gratitude goes extremely deep. Here’s a short bullet list of what I felt gratitude for at this time:

  • I feel grateful for the love and support I have from my wife, children and friends
  • Grateful that I was able to witness the simple pleasures that my grandson experienced playing in the sand
  • Grateful to the ‘Spirit of Place – Genius Loci’ of the beach for being so welcoming to our presence.
  • Grateful to the gentle warm breeze that helped cool us down
  • Swimming alone out into the Sea I was extremely grateful for the peace and stillness that the waters provided.
  • I am grateful to the Sea and the sense of connection that I feel with every other part of this wonderful planet when I am in its embrace. The thought that the water I’m connecting to is itself connected to every other body of water on the planet, therefore, by proxy, so am I
  • Grateful to the warmth of the Sun and to my miraculous ability that my body has to convert the sunlight to vitamin D
  • I was very grateful to be alive to experience all this

I truly believe that living a life full of gratitude is the most positive way to live, just to be grateful that a stranger has smiled at you as they pass by in the street, or give you a cheery “hello” just lifts your day and it always makes me smile. So my advice, if you wish to hear it, is live a life full of gratitude. Spend a few minutes everyday looking back on your day and express your gratitude to all of the ‘Persons’ that crossed your path that day.

Joy and peace to you all /|\