I know, I know. It’s way too cliché to write a blog about gratitude for Thanksgiving. We don’t even need to talk about the somewhat shady origins of Thanksgiving and the true meaning behind the celebration. Let’s simplify this whole thing. Currently, Thanksgiving is a day we take to give thanks for what we as Americans have. Freedom, democracy, capitalism, suffrage for all people and so on. We have to take this day to pause just long enough to express our thanks before we delve deeply into the materialistic melee that begins just one day after. Sigh…..
In my opinion, any day is a good day to be grateful. My partner Nick and I take time every time we sit down to eat dinner to say 3 things we are grateful for. Sounds cheesy, right? We try to focus on specific things that are going on in our own lives and in the world in general. Sometimes it’s difficult because we are so very blessed. We have a roof over our heads, food on our plates, health and enough material trappings to keep us in line with the Jones’. It’s when I struggle to think of things to be grateful for that I realize how selfish and ridiculous I am.
Kṛtajñā is one of the Sanskrit words for gratitude. I love Sanskrit. I love the sound of the words and I love the meanings of the words. There are often multiple meanings for words that give it a much richer definition. Kṛtajñā means gratitude, thankful, mindful of formal aid or favors, acknowledging past services or benefits, correct in conduct, knowing what is right and dog. I think it’s interesting that dog is one of the meanings because I can think of no creature that has a greater understanding of gratitude than a dog. Putting aside dog, the rest of the meanings give a very full definition of gratitude. Being thankful for people, actions and things in the past, present and the future. Gratitude is not only in the moment, it should carry throughout time and space.
It’s easy to overlook gratitude and to forget to practice gratitude on a regular basis. Psycholtherapist, writer and poet Ruth Neubauer’s poem, “The Opposite of Gratitude” provides some help for understanding gratitude.
The Opposite of Gratitude
Which comes in many forms:
never being able to say you’re sorry
inability to let go of anger
“About me” removes the ability to be grateful.
Gratitude requires an open heart
A clearing of the mind
Space which Gratitude can fill.
Gratitude requires huge spaciousness.
So this year on Thanksgiving, create space for gratitude by letting go of the things that are holding you down, open your eyes to all that you have been blessed with and open your heart to receive all these blessings.
For a few fantastic mantra you can use to invite gratitude into your heart check out the following.