Rev. Barbara Samuel
Gratitude is My Religion
Updated: Feb 28, 2021
It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Without a doubt, my favourite time of year. Autumn….ahhhhh. I love the freshness of the air, the crisp, obvious change of seasons. The leaves on the trees bear a variety of colours from yellow, green, orange, red and even purple! Can you picture it? As the leaves, in varying shapes and sizes, slowly drift in the light, warm breeze back and forth until they reach their destination of the ground. Can you see it? Can you imagine it?
As the evening coolness and night air set in, the winds pick up and the leaves begin another dance. This time it’s a different feeling. It’s a dance with energy of swirling, leaping and prancing. The leaves bounce into each other as they land in corners of buildings, up against fences clumped together. They are being thrown into the air as the wind creates funnels hurling them upward and ascending into the night sky.
I’m in love. I feel it every turn I make. I’m in nature and life is happening. It’s so obvious by the sounds all around me. There is a natural and pleasant melodic song being sung by Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants. Harmonies of life are more vibrant, more obvious than any other time of the year. The water is moving, the birds are singing as they are preparing their winter nests. The bears are preparing to hibernate and the salmon are jumping and leaping out of the water in the streams to migrate. The eagles are soaring high in the sky without being territorial because there is so much abundance in the waters for their sustenance. The bounty of the harvested gardens is being shared by family and friends on farms, in neighbourhoods and in local stores. There is so much to be grateful for.
It is in this moment of awareness that I understand it all. I feel it all. And I am so grateful and filled with awe and wonder. As I dig the potato out of the earth, wipe off the dirt and taste and eat it raw, I realize and remember what Carl Jung said, “If our religion is based on wonder, our chief emotion will be gratitude.” I have found a foolproof way to get more love, happiness, peace and joy in my life. And it is easy. I am living in gratitude. I am making it my priority to recognize it everywhere.
This becomes a spiritual practice when we move from simply showing appreciation or returning kindnesses to feeling and expressing gratitude for all the wonderful things, big and small, in our lives. What we focus on grows. When we focus on being grateful for the love, happiness, peace and joy already in our lives, we send a message to the Universe: More of this, please. What do you want more of in your life? Focus on it with great gratitude and watch it grow.
We can make a conscious decision to seek out things to be grateful for, making gratitude a regular spiritual practice in our lives. In doing so, we develop the ability to see with grateful eyes. The ability to look first for what is good and working in our lives without minimizing or denying the hardships or challenges that are also present. Focusing on the benefits and goodness that are all around us leads to feelings of gratitude, and this creates a magnification of more and more of the good that you are grateful for. The experience of gratitude generates a sense of well-being. And the better we feel, the more good we will be, do, and have.
In closing….. As the colors change and our world evolves so do our reflections. What is certain is how grateful we can remain and how proud we can feel, despite hurdles we have faced this year. As a Center of the Science of Mind teaching, we are constantly refocusing, re-adapting, being creative and leading with perseverance. The entire Board of Trustees and Reverend Gwen and I couldn’t be more grateful for all of you during these times of growth and adapting, as we feel hopeful and confident that the opportunities ahead of us are even more exciting for our community. There is so much more ahead of us to be ever grateful for as we are harvesting an attitude of gratitude for the power within each of us!
Abundant Peace and Blessings,