Is gratitude a list of things in the outside world, or is gratitude a force inside, the song of our very existence? I remember many years ago hearing that the key to getting what you want in life is gratitude. “Make lists of all the things you’re grateful for,” the experts advised. I have memories of myself on the train from London to Brighton when I lived in the UK filling up pages with all of the blessings in my life. Yet my spirit wasn’t actually singing the gratitude song.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have a long list of things that I felt grateful for, I’ve always been incredibly blessed, but inside I felt desperately overwhelmed by my emotions and those things in life that were not working out exactly as I wanted them to. No matter how great life got, I always wished things were just a little different, despite my genuine and heartfelt attempt to be grateful.
But as life progresses and we have more experiences, perhaps we begin to realize that the point of life is not for everything to be going “perfectly”. The point is to experience the full spectrum of humanness, and to find the aliveness and power within that. Unlike the New Age positive thinking law of attraction books say, gratitude is not something I have to try to feel. I don’t have to make lists about things outside myself so I experience it. It’s just my basic make up. It’s as if gratitude is my essential nature, my inner aliveness that singing the song of gratitude simply because it exists. And the more I get in touch with my essence, the more it simply arises naturally with no effort and I don’t really mind what happens in the outside world cause it’s all awesome! I can be as grateful on the morning when my car breaks down and I get a flat tire, (like this morning,) as the best morning of my entire life.