Years ago I had an experience in the woods, an encounter with nature. It was late and the fire was burning low. I casually stuck my poker stick into the fire to stir the embers. Without warning the fire erupted and flames whooshed straight at me. In one swift motion I was on my feet moving away from the fire, which was suddenly burning fiercely as though it had a hidden source of oxygen.
As I paced back and forth, eyeing the fire warily, I heard these words:
“I see you. You walk my land, take my trees, drink my water, breathe my air.
‘Thank You‘ will do.
Sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco, these are my currency–make your offerings. Your prayers, these are my language–speak aloud your prayers.”
Those words came with such an impact that I immediately understood the depth and power of gratitude and to be thankful for everything we are given. Everything.
That experience changed me. I began to see gratitude, deep gratitude, as a way of being in the world. It made me realize how much we are given, how much we have to be thankful for.
Gratitude is more than a casual exchange. It is a causative emotion that creates our reality. What we are grateful for, we receive more of, not for the purpose of getting more, but because when we’re vibrationally connected to the energy of gratitude, more good things come into our lives naturally.
Be grateful for everything in your life, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. Accept the light and the dark with equanimity. Appreciate the challenges in your life, because they help you to learn and grow..
All of our drinking water comes from a natural spring in the mountains north of our home. Every 4-6 weeks my ritual is to get water, rain or shine, deep snow or 10 below. Each time I kneel for a while and listen to the water babble, and often hear voices and giggling. I make an offering of tobacco, honoring the water beings and their Source.
I’m thankful for the clean, pure water that nourishes me and my family. For hundreds of years that spring has provided life-giving water to the inhabitants of the area, including me, and for that I am grateful.
An important practice is expressing our gratitude to others. Let them know what you are specifically grateful for, and not only for something they’ve done, but for who they are.
Look them in the eye, let them see you seeing them, and like a mirror, reflect back to them who they are, who you see them to be.
Tell them that you’re grateful for their presence in your life and what they mean to you. This is an uncommon expression of gratitude.
Being willing to see someone for who they are, and expressing your appreciation for them, is an act of love, and all the more meaningful because it is so rare.
We are all standing on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before us, many of whom aren’t living anymore. There are people in my world who have made it possible for me to be here… to work at the level that I work, to experience prosperity, abundance and the good things in life. You have those people in your life as well.
Find them and thank them. There’s an old-fashioned practice of writing a handwritten card, putting a stamp on it and sending it in the mail. Not many people do that anymore. It’s a powerful thing to write a heartfelt thank you, sign and send it.
Let the people in your life know how grateful you are for them, and for all that they’ve made possible for you.
Remember this: Gratitude and peace are intimately linked. In a state of gratitude you have access to peace. Peace is an attribute within you and joy is an attribute of peace.
Peace is the condition for the awareness of your relationship with God, from Whom all things come.
Be grateful and let nothing disturb your peace.
Dawn and Tom Tompkins Fox says
Thank you Tom. I’m grateful to know you as part of the Heartwood community. Your spirit, your insights and your offerings are admired and appreciated! Much love, Dawn
Tom Garcia says
Thank you Dawn! I appreciate your words. See you and Tom soon.
Cathy Hay says
What a beautiful reflection Tom. I’m inspired to renew my dedication to gratitude. Thank you!
Tom Garcia says
Thank you Cathy! You are an inspiration.