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Positivity Quest: Gratitude Challenge

Positivity Quest: Gratitude Challenge

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. –Albert Schweitzer

It occurred to me today that I have hit a roadblock in my positivity quest. Although I have experienced moments of deep gratitude over the last seven months in the process of seeking a positive life experience, I have not mastered any real practice of gratitude. I bought a gratitude journal but have never trained in the daily practice of writing in it. I can make a mental list in a moments notice about things in life that I have to be grateful for, but often even as I say them out loud, I feel the distance between the words and the feeling.

Felix Frankfurter, an early American Jurist once said: “Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.” I am not sure if the meaning of this reflects the fact that we all do, in fact, take so much for granted. Perhaps, I am not alone in this space between mental recognition of giving thanks and the deep, visceral experience of how gratitude makes us feel loved, worthy and whole. For me, the distance is the same as the space between a mental recognition of God and the profound sense of wonder and joy that comes from feeling God inside you.

The recognition of gratitude as the foundation for a life worth living comes through every ancient civilization. Aesop, the famed Greek fabulist, stated: “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls” and Cicero, the ancient Roman statesmen wrote: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” Yet even with this long standing recognition, there is a great deal of gratitude that goes unsaid. Like a tree that falls in a forest with no one to hear it, is gratitude real that is unshared?

Yes and no, I think. The fleeting grateful thoughts that I have that go unsaid and unrecorded do change something in me momentarily, but they do not really live in my heart and offer their magical balm until I give them away. I think one of the keys to making your soul a noble one through gratitude comes from paying attention to those thoughts. Interrupting your regularly scheduled life to stop and notice whatever is good in front of you and actually take the time to share it.

For many months at the beginning of the positivity quest, I wore a bracelet that I moved from arm to arm to remind me to stop my negative talk- with others and myself. It occurs to me that the bracelet method could be used as effectively to create more grateful thoughts as well. I have read and believe that gratitude is the highest form of thought, but like anything good in us requires practice and intention for it to work. So starting tomorrow, on day 191, I will not only start wearing a bracelet to remind me to create more grateful thoughts, I am also going to carry the empty gratitude journal with me everywhere and see if it is indeed true, that filling up a gratitude journal actually ends up filling me.

Read more: Love, Relationships, Sex, Spirit, Wendy's Positivity Quest,

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

41 comments

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4:48AM PST on Jan 8, 2013

Being positive and feeling grateful is the key to a better life

7:34PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

practice does lead towards perfect

3:28AM PST on Dec 26, 2010

Thank you

5:24PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Don't you think it amazing to be anything at all?

1:32AM PDT on Jul 23, 2010

thanks

8:07AM PDT on Jul 21, 2010

Did Chris B. send anyone else a nasty personal note as she did to me? I have never been so attacked by a stranger in my life.

Everyone needs to find out about a person's life and their problems before sending hateful messages and making hateful comments. You can cause a lot more damage than you could imagine.

10:29PM PDT on Jul 20, 2010

I started keeping a gratitude journal in the mid 90's, when I discovered Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance". It is amazing how much good that is in our lives, which we seem to forget as soon as the event or the day is over. At the end of every day, I wrote in my journal at least 5 things for which I was grateful during that day. Every now and again, I go back and read my entries. It always moves me to see just how much good has passed through my life each and every day. During difficult times, those passages, which were written so long ago, tend to re-ignite my hope for the future.

8:19AM PDT on Jul 15, 2010

thanks for the reminder.

7:46AM PDT on Jul 15, 2010

the bracelet technique's very helpful. Thanks!

10:59PM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

Thank you, Wendy.

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