Every year, Thanksgiving and the holiday season, in general, put thoughts of gratitude on people’s minds. Most of the time, when we think about thankfulness, we are quite literal about it, using the phrase “thank you” whenever there is a kindness done in our favor. Some may even thank God for bringing good fortune into their lives. This, of course, is important and should be done, but the most meaningful gratitude starts with being thankful for the world we live in, and expands from there. Let me explain.
Thankfulness is necessary to establish an exchange of energy. It’s easy to accomplish this by expressing gratitude to other humans, but one area where many people forget to pay attention to is our environment. Showing gratitude to the earth that nourishes us, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the fire that enables us to do so many things, and the space we live in is, unfortunately, not very common. We are constantly taking energy via the earth’s five elements, and in return, we give back nothing. At the very least, we can show our gratitude.
Having awareness that you should be grateful to nature is a huge step toward protecting it from, well, ourselves. If you can do more, like sweep your streets, clean the ocean, and nourish the soil (i.e., planting or composting), then you are being thankful. When you’re having these thoughts and taking these actions from a place of appreciation, your cause and compassion become one in this energy exchange with the planet.
Why is this so important? Well, think about your mother, who constantly provided you with whatever you needed: food, money, shelter, and much more. She kept giving, and, odds are, you were not always grateful, and maybe even complained or did not acknowledge her efforts. Over time, she might have eventually stopped, but more likely, she continued giving with all her heart. However, she was probably less happy about it, which is a common reaction when you feel unappreciated.
Similarly, nature is always providing everything we need, and we are not appreciating, connecting, or protecting it. And as a result, nature is not happy with us. I truly believe that if there were millions of people showing their gratitude to nature every single day, nature would be much kinder and more peaceful. If you can take this approach to all areas of your life—creating a grateful energy exchange to give thanks for your mind, body, soul, and all the people in your life—even better.
Three Ways to Show Thankfulness
1. A quiet morning prayer.
I start every day by internally saying a gratitude prayer right when I wake up. I thank the five elements, my body, my mind, my intellect, my parents for creating me, and everybody who has ever helped me, knowingly or unknowingly, simply by existing. It may take two to five minutes each day. Try it yourself tomorrow: Be thankful to your parents, this existence, this new day in your life, and all five elements of nature. If you can implement this little practice in the morning, you start your day on a very good note.
2. A personal acknowledgement.
This can be accomplished verbally or in writing. Call someone to tell them “thank you” or write a note to let them know you appreciate them. Expressing thankfulness directly to others is very meaningful, but if you want to do something a little different, try this exercise.
Take a pen and paper and write down three names. Under each name, write down three things this person has done for you, and at the bottom of each list, write: “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing these blessings into my life.” This is a powerful way of showing your gratitude to people you’re not in touch with or, perhaps, don’t feel comfortable expressing these sentiments directly. You’re still putting the energy out there, even if you’re not saying it out loud.
You can also show gratitude to total strangers. Say, you love your car, and it brings you a lot of joy. You don’t know exactly who made or designed it, but you’re enjoying the experience. When you find yourself in a situation like this, say “thank you” internally to the people who created the object that makes you happy. You can really hone in on anything material, and in this way, create an exchange of energy between yourself and the people who indirectly bring you so much pleasure.
3. The gift of giving.
This can mean actual wrapped-up presents, but can also take the form of tips, donations, and quality time. Perhaps you can volunteer for your local school or a non-profit, or give thoughtful offerings to your friends and family just because. This is yet another way of uplifting your consciousness and expressing gratitude on a greater scale.
How Gratitude Can Make a Difference
Aside from creating an energy exchange where it didn’t exist before, you might be wondering what is the point of all of this. The answer is simple: It will make you happy. It’s not always easy to start, but once you do, the inner shift is bound to come. You will be a transformed person if you are present in your thankfulness. You won’t have to make an attempt to become a positive thinker; you will automatically turn into one. I challenge you to think about thankfulness and gratitude this year, not just on Thanksgiving, but on every day after that, too. Think of it as a Thanksgiving resolution, if you will. Just one practice of thankfulness every single day can totally change your life.