Rethinking Giving Thanks
Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, a time set aside during the year for all of us to think about what we are grateful for. If you read our blog, you may remember that I sometimes have a complicated relationship with gratitude. You can read more about that here: www.intentionalenergy3.com/post/the-platitudes-of-gratitude.
Sometimes feeling grateful is the last thing on our minds—did you notice all the things that are wrong with this world? All the causes for worry and despair? How can we be grateful at a time like this?
Today, Maryanne and I facilitated a conversation about what values we would like to claim for ourselves during the upcoming season of Advent. The value of gratitude kept calling my name. Maybe it is because I need it right now. I have learned that if I intentionally practice noticing things to be grateful for, no matter how small, it balances out my stress around what is happening in this world and in my life. My attention gets diverted to all the good that I overlook.
Diana Butler Bass, the Christian writer and author of the book Grateful (which I highly recommend if you want to take a deep dive into gratitude), has recently published a blog on her website about a new way of practicing gratitude this Thanksgiving. She suggests that rather than thinking about what we are grateful for, we should add other prepositions as well: into, to, through, with, within, by and in--as we think about gratitude.
How different would our conversation around the Thanksgiving table be, if we asked everyone the questions Diana Butler Bass suggests:
To whom or what are you grateful?
What challenges have you been grateful through?
Have you been grateful with others?
Where have you discovered gratitude within?
Has something in your life been changed by being grateful?
In what circumstances have you experienced thankfulness?
Changing our questions around gratitude transforms the way we see it and expands the way we experience it. Gratitude is no longer something “out there”, hard to grasp in difficult times. It becomes a part of how we live—in, through, and within our daily lives.
How would you like to give thanks this Thanksgiving season?
READINGS AND LEARNINGS:
Diana Butler Bass’s book on Gratitude:
Diana Butler Bass’ blog on The Turkey Hostage Situation: