“The great lesson is…that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s backyard.” ~ Abraham Maslow
Very early on, I understood that I was a lucky kid. I was aware that in other parts of the world, people were suffering from a lack of what I had an abundance of.
Religion wasn’t something that was deeply rooted in my upbringing. Growing up, however, my parents raised my sisters and me under a sort of universal law of ethics: be honest, be kind, help others, be conscious of the impact of your words and actions. What seemed to really stick with me was the concept of gratitude.
I began to whisper little gratitudes to myself throughout the day for the basics, such as food, water, and shelter. Then onto emotional and psychological support in the form of friends and family. Then onto circumstantial things, like my opportunities to a higher education, my right to vote, endless potential career paths, etc. When I learned about Maslow’s Hierearchy of Needs in college, I developed a deep understanding of how my daily cognitions impacted the outcome of my external world.
I began counting the blessings in my life like they were stars in the sky.
My gratitude prayers have become sacred to me because of how I apply them to my life. Religion is not involved, and I don’t choose any higher power to address my gratitudes to. It simply flows from the heart and into the universe.
I found that the more I expressed gratitude for the small things in life, the more I understood that those are actually the big things.
I believe anyone can participate in gratitude prayers, regardless of religious beliefs. I invite you to try it for one week. My suggestion? Start small. Pick something or someone you cherish and couldn’t live without. Now, to yourself, say “Thank you for ______ .” Take the time to acknowledge how lucky or how grateful you are to have that someone or something in your life. Add one new gratitude prayer to the list each day of the week. By the last day, you will have seven gratitudes.
That’s it; it’s that simple. Take note of how your perspective changes and challenge yourself to continue finding new moments of gratitude.
Author: Heather Kleiman
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Google images for reuse