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An Attitude of Gratitude

by Rev. Michael Bernard Lattimore

Today I would like to share some GRATITUDINAL HEALING with you, which I like to call an Attitude of Gratitude.

During this season of Thanksliving, I am often tempted to become melancholy with the advent of the holiday season and the resurgent memories of bygone days. This season however, I get to train myself to flip the script and consider the things I have to be grateful for. I get to think about all the things I have to be grateful for instead of all those people I miss and the joys of the
past.

My godbrother and I often reminisce about how we tempted fate as youngsters and survived the gauntlet of dangers that our parents tried to protect us from. But the fact of the matter was, there was a lot that we didn’t know back then. And we didn’t even know that we didn’t know. Our parents blew smoke in our faces because no one had heard of the dangers of secondhand smoke.

When we were kids, 9 out of 10 doctors recommended Camel cigarettes as a way to control nervousness and improve constitution.

There were no seat belts in our cars and the dashboard in most cars was hard metal.
On more than one occasion a hard stop resulted in a doo-hickey (also known as a
KNOT) on my forehead. My godbrother and I did not bother to read the warning
labels on household chemicals but we quickly learned that certain combinations
produced deadly gas that could kill insects, melt plastic and cause
uncontrollable coughing spells. Years later we would learn about the dangers of
chlorine gas. It’s a miracle we are still above ground many decades
later.

Now as we consider the close calls we have all had in life, we can be grateful for the Learnings.
We can learn for example from the Homeopathic practitioners, who can use microscopic
quantities of deadly poisons to cure you. A popular homeopathic remedy for a
sore throat is snake venom. So, a tiny little bit (like molecules) on a sugar
pill can clear up a sore throat quite quickly.

This leads me to think that what we might consider to be poison in our lives can in
fact be medicine for our soul. What we consider an OBSTACLE in our life might
really be an OPPORTUNITY for learning and growth.

The question to be asked is, what is our attitude towards whatever is going on in our life?
Victor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, wrote that ““Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

This quote reminds us we can choose to cultivate an attitude of gratitude as a way of life. But in order to cultivate, we must first plant the seed, the water it, fertilize it, nurture it as a part of the cultivation process.

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude allows us to reap the bounty of the harvest, which is a life of peace, free from upset, incessant dissatisfaction, and free of that craving to constantly “have what we want.”

When we prioritize having what we want, often we will discover that one satisfied desire leads to the next and the next. Instead of being gratified with what we have, we become obsessed with wanting what we want and never being satisfied with ‘enough’.

Many find themselves living in the realm of the hungry ghosts, who cannot feed themselves enough of what they desire and who are constantly wandering through the lower worlds of hell, hunger, and animality. You may find that consuming loads of TV and social media can add to these incessant desires for more.

But you can choose differently this season and use some simple tools of spiritual technology to set yourself free while enjoying that refreshing and revitalizing Attitude of Gratitude.
Here are 3 steps to that Attitude of Gratitude for your ThanksLiving season in 2021:

1) Start a Gratitude list today by writing 5 things you are grateful for. Add 5 new things you are grateful for every day. If you feel like you have run out of things to be grateful for, meditate and allow the stillness to inspire remembrance of all that you have to be grateful for.

2) Write a Gratitude note to someone thanking them for something they’ve added to your life that you are grateful for. You may choose to do this weekly, monthly, or however often you like. You may discover it to be a practice that recharges your spiritual batteries. Get creative and write letters to those on the Other side of life. You may keep the letter or burn it in ritual.

3) Perform an Act of Gratitude. Affirming that Gratitude is an Action word, perform an act of kindness, benevolence or loving that demonstrates your Gratitude. It might be paying for someone’s coffee or meal, anonymously donating or helping someone in need. Do this as often as you feel is right for you.

These simple acts of cultivating that Attitude of Gratitude will change your mind, change your thinking and change your life. It’s guaranteed to work- or you can have your old (ungrateful) life back.