the state of being grateful; thankfulness

Written By Caren Goldman

Gratitude births only positive feelings—love, compassion, joy, and hope. As we focus on what we are thankful for, fear, anger, and bitterness simply melt away, seemingly without effort.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, to live gratitude is to touch heaven.

ACCORDING TO AN old Saturday Evening Post story, the Pilgrims had a custom of putting five grains of corn on each empty plate before a dinner of “thanksgiving” was served. Then those gathered around the table would each take turns picking up their grains and telling their family and friends about something for which they were thankful. “The practice reminded them of how the first Pilgrims were in such straits that their allowance was only five grains of corn per person each day,” the article said. “The Pilgrims had little, but they did possess gratitude.” 

I find it interesting that the English word for “thanks” arose out of Indo- European words for “think” and “thoughtfulness.” Although I know there are times when I thoughtlessly say “Thank you” in response to another’s words or deeds, my sincerest expressions of gratitude are more thought filled. For example, over the years, I’ve made it a practice occasionally to stop and think of people in my past who unselfishly bestowed healing gifts of time, energy, presence, trust, confidence, truth, and love upon me. I then try to express my gratitude through hand-written letters, cards, emails, phone calls, visits, deeds, or donations in their honor. Recipients of these tokens have been relatives, mentors, friends, and even strangers.

Remember when the phrase “random acts of kindness” became popular? Many of these acts were very small, simple ones that made a difference in the recipient’s life. Professor Rudolph Arnheim tells this story about his lasting gratitude for one such kindness: “At a faculty reception, a British
lady taught me how to tie my shoes with a double knot so that they keep tied more securely and still come apart in a jiffy,” he said. “Kneeling on the floor in the midst of the chattering sherry-sippers, she tied my shoes. I remember her twice a day ever since.”


When I express gratitude to others, I transform my thoughts into deeds.

Praise the bridge that carried you over. 

If something that was going to chop off our head only knocked off our cap, we should be grateful. 

Healing Words for the Body Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman

From Healing Words for the Body, Mind and Spirit by Caren Goldman. Copyright © 2001, 2009 by Caren Goldman. Used with permission from Morehouse Publishing, an imprint of Church Publishing Inc. PART OF THE PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS NEW BOOK WILL BE DONATED TO BREAST AND OTHER CANCER CAUSE, CARE, AND PREVENTION ORGANIZATIONS.

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