Gratitude, the spontaneous opening of our hearts in thankfulness, can be a way of life. It can also be the doorway through which we really begin to see and feel that our lives are deeply connected with everything around us.

Some of us may have been jolted into gratitude through some life challenge; others may make a conscious effort to practice it. All of us are likely to be reminded of gratitude during the holidays. Rest assured, we will be given many opportunities to be in gratitude whether it is on our knees or standing up.

This heart-opening journey can take us to places within ourselves that we have been afraid to look at. As we follow this path, skeletons in our internal closets begin to look less scary and more in need of our help. We begin to have more compassion for those parts of us that are scared, angry and disappointed, at the same time liberating our mind of thoughts of constriction, restriction and resistance allowing for the immediate acceptance of what is, realizing the beauty and grace within ourselves and of our friends and loved ones who are holding us in loving gratitude

Gratitude doesn’t have to be reserved for large occasions or for material displays of thanks like cash bonuses, awards or gifts. Gratitude can be as simple as a “Thank You” and as wondrous as the smile on another person’s face. Gratitude can incorporate smell, touch or feel, such as the smell of fresh baked goods or a warm bowl of soup, the touch of a grateful handshake or the feeling of a heartfelt hug. Our thoughts can create gratitude, our feelings can feel gratitude, and our hearts can expand as a result of gratitude.

Gratitude is indeed a gift that keeps on giving. Think about it; when was the last time someone showed some kindness to you and you did not feel the urge to reciprocate?

How small and subtle of a thing can you be grateful for? What about so-called inanimate objects that render service to us, like warm clothing, toothbrushes, water heaters? When we don’t have them we certainly miss them. (Next time you step into a pleasurably hot shower, try sending a “thank you” in the direction of your water heater.)

One sure way to access gratitude is to think about where you are right now. Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have access to food? Do you have a place to sleep at night? At this moment can you feel at peace and grateful for all you have?

We wish you beauty, grace, love and prosperity within your realm of gratitude for the coming year.

With Blessings ~ Melinda

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