I remember many wonderful conversations about gratitude with my grandmother, and also prayer. Sometimes gratitude - for the beauty that surrounds me and even for the pain and grief I’ve experienced, the losses (of my mother, the accident that transformed my younger sister’s life forever, even the death of my oldest son), the knowings, the knowledge of the true power and scope of Love that flow from them. Yes, much of that took time. In the case of my son’s death - years. But . . . I am grateful for the fact that my heart is now cracked open and will never be closed again, for the knowing that there is no death, for the voices of all the beings of Earth - here, present, and so much a part of the beauty that moves me. Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude that I can’t help but cry tears of joy - and there is pain in there too, for the losses, but the blessings of time and understanding and (hopefully a bit of) wisdom - I’m 70 so I do hope that’s coming along as well - they are the gifts of loss and grief. I would not change anything - though I do wish that my son was still here in the physical dimension, as I wish my mother hadn’t died so young and that my sister hadn’t had a brain injury that changed her life. Life happens. It’s all part of it.

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I was recently discussing gratitude with a friend and trying to describe how gratitude naturally flows out of me - I am not trying. Every day I just look around me and am grateful for just about everything I lay my eyes on. And gratitude has pulled me out of the pit when I remember it.

I love how you frame it here and remind people that it can't be forced. And I also agree with how you've linked ingratitude to "forced gratitude" (as if it can be forced!) in childhood. Just like parents forcing children to "share". What an oxymoron!) (In my example above, I think of it as "remembering".) I love the cycle of gratitude -> generosity -> gratitude etc. Yes!

I've been working more deeply with people 1-1 and have been astounded to find that most people have no idea how to take care of themselves or what brings them joy/happiness. Now that I'm reflecting on it, it's not that surprising but it's been such a long time since I've lived that way that I'd forgotten - the obligation, the shame, the exhaustion of keeping up with everything.

I truly believe that when people's needs are taken care of they ARE generous! It's so natural for us to give when our cup is overflowing. It's a positive feedback loop as you've described here. Now, to get people to believe that they deserve to be filled up.

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Gratitude is the gateway to abundance. The problem with ingratitude is that those who feel entitled and thankless feel bereft of abundance: they live in lack; in an absence of plenitude. Whilst gratitude itself and alone is not the GOAL, it is the GATEWAY. Because those who fail to feel gratitude, who fail to fill their hearts with ENOUGH, will forever be enslaved to the empty promise, the false allure, the barren cup... of MORE. Gratitude for the infinitude of life and its ineffable wonderments is what makes every circumstance, every experience, every moment a present. Gratitude then — giving thanks, saying grace, enumerating one's blessings — is the ultimate gift worth giving. Because the cosmic corollary is that the more we GIVE gratitude, the more we give to OURSELVES.

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Apr 26, 2022·edited Apr 26, 2022

I wanted to share a couple of poems on the same theme, because I share your feelings about 'gratitude.' One poem is facetious, the other not.

The Weight of Gratitude


we should


congratulate gravity

on its latest accomplishments?

And would gravity say,

“Aww, it’s nothing…"?

Or should we say,

“Thanks for nothing!...” ?

Gravid rainbows

gratuitous rain,

disgraced bees,

aggravated drivers,

grateful wind,

grieving survivors,

brutal facts,

all of them agree—

The world is heavy, folks—

but if it didn’t suck, we’d all fall off.


Thanksgiving Elegy

It’s the day when gravity exerts

its strongest pull on gratitude.

My friends are worried about bees and koalas;

about carbon footprints; about all the lies being told—

all the heartless greed that’s eating up the world.

They are fearful of finales; disturbed by disappearances;

and all the while the ghosts of melting glaciers haunt their dreams.

What shall we remember?

What is there to be thankful for?

Can we even say that we are grateful for death;

that we are indebted to loss?

There is a sure reckoning of the heart

that knows what we owe

for all the things that do not last—

A deep and undeniable understanding

that regret is counterfeit currency, and will not do.

No, we’ll be paying with imperfect tokens

poured like tears from an ancient mold:

coins of our own realm; struck with our own merciful hammer,

and faced with the patient image of ourselves.

There must always be some ceremony of tribute;

some liturgy of loss that shows us how not to despair.

So, let’s raise our glasses now —

In gratitude for all the things that never last.

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i am deeply grateful for you, charles, and this beautiful community of reverence

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Beautiful comprehension. I feel grateful to you.

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This one made me cry♥️, take it in the truth of the good earth.

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We love you, Charles...

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Thank you! for this clear-eyed exposition of things as they are. From the other side of Western culture's history, I have struggled with how to define my feelings of discomfort and inner itchiness with much of what passes for enlightened interaction. And here I find much to clarify that itchiness. Thank you

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Thank you, Charles, for another thought provoking essay. As a naturalist and native plant landscaper, I connect deeply to the awe of creation on a daily basis…which does not, for me, correlate with a sense that this is a good world as I witness the total destruction of all that I cherish as holy. However, it’s been scientifically proven that expressing gratitude, however shallow the initial gesture, and with practice over time, changes the way one thinks to create genuine gratitude, which leads to awe, which leads to a cherishing of that which we LEARN is truly awesome. It’s a practice that creates connection between our minds and hearts. Yes, when we aren’t truly grateful the shame is there, but we have the power to change that dynamic to become part of a greater good.

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I love your writing Charles with balance and candour you look at our world in all its complexity. I recently wrote a little essay for a webinar of spiritually minded people about Human (from ghoman - Indo european root word meaning 'of the Earth') Beingness and I quoted you about Relationship and Being inextricably connected. Thank you so much for what you do.

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Just beautiful! Thank you for this open-hearted view of the world and life!

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Thanks for a thoughtful read to add to my morning contemplations! I am even feeling gratitude for those that would point out your / our “privilege” to be in gratitude - as they give us perspective of their level of consciousness we get to practice staying at ours rather than sinking down which all too often appears to me to be the conscious or rather unconscious intention - pulling others down rather than raising up to join

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Apr 26, 2022·edited Apr 26, 2022

And may we all know the gift, gift, gift, of the Great Creator of all that we are grateful for.

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Yes, Charles, and I am in awe how my heart harkens to the deeper truths calling for my discovery, especially as answers to a particular problem that has arisen. Called like with an inner Divining Rod in my hands, my heart feeling the warmth of the way to the promised answers, and the treasure of the affirming knowledge found. Gratitude wells up for the fullness and beauties life holds for us, and generosity is its own inner warm rain that pours forth from me, drenching me and anything near yet arid.

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Am with you only to the point of describing that handful of soil as "good earth". How do we refrain from making meaning and give ourselves over to direct experience with that casemaking word lodged in our minds? I have reverence for your sentiment here, yet couldn't one also possibly feel shame around accepting the world, or life, as good or bad? Apologies for the fine tuning here but I think it's possibly another layer to what you're suggesting to let go and perhaps it too would help us get to the root of authentic experience of the world. I don't know. Perhaps I'm being too technical with the languaging. My mother never asked me or my siblings to to say thank you or to get attached to politeness or etiquette. And yet we were extremely courteous. Perhaps too there is a resentment (or shame) that grows from being told how to live. I see this all around us in the form of endless dogma from all ideologies. I believe that partially what you're getting at is embracing our innate sense of how to be in the world as modernity and the machine age potentially dissolves. What's left is the soil which we are part of not separate from. In smelling the earth, we are smelling our own essence.

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