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Living Gratitude

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~ John F Kennedy The words of John F Kennedy echo the essence of gratitude. Many have the mistaken notion that saying the words will bring about changes in their life, but are sorely disappointed. It reminds me of insisting a child say he is sorry for his infractions. He turns to his friend, grumbles "sorry" and we walk away satisfied that he has made his amends for his transgressions. As adults, we think we are teaching the importance of apologizing, but what we really teach is if you say the right words all will be forgiven. Without feeling, a simple "I'm sorry" means nothing, yet we teach children to accept this apology from their friends and move on. We teach that others will accept empty words with no investment in their meaning. Is it any wonder we grow up to think that saying the words is all that is required to succeed? If you are in the habit of saying you are grateful, but lack the emotional investment to live that gratitude you are no different than the child who mumbles "Sorry." Your words tell the world one thing, but your actions do not support it. If you find yourself saying, "My life is the pits, but at least I have my health." or "Everything is falling apart, but at least I have a job.", you are treading on dangerous grounds. When you catch yourself saying "at least I have" then you are probably just going through the motions of saying the right words. Gratitude isn't about saying you are grateful. It's about feeling grateful, being grateful, living grateful. For today, find something you are grateful for and live it. If you are grateful for the beautiful summer sun: get out there and enjoy the sun, celebrate it will all your heart, feel the joy that only the sun can bring. Don't worry if what you are grateful for seems silly or too childish to celebrate. Dance under the stars, feel the cool grass under your bare feet, listen to the sounds of nature. Celebrate the things you love and offer up your gratitude in words and in action and you will see dramatic changes in your life. Today, I am grateful for awaking free of pain. I am grateful for the cool morning air that brings rest to the soul. I am grateful for the exquisite beauty of trees as their leaves dance in the wind and they provide shade for the weary. I am grateful for the gentle sound of wind chimes, the call of birds and moss in its soft cushiony carpet beneath the feet. I am grateful for life in all its glory and my family and friends that promise great joy. And I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you continue your journey today. May you find much to be grateful for today.


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