Somehow we've been duped into believing the lie that who we are and what we have is not enough. We think we cannot achieve happiness or fulfillment unless we have reached a certain goal or done something to earn it. The equation appears to be HAVE—DO—BE. "Once I HAVE this one thing right, I can finally DO what I’ve been searching for, and I can BE happy." Whether it be an ideal relationship, a dream job, a perfect home, etc., the story is the same.
Well, I am here to tell you that this particular equation is, in fact, completely backwards. It's a mindset mired in scarcity, of lack, of "not enough.”
As we begin to wake up, to lean into the wild depths of our souls, we start to see that a life of bounty is, in fact, right here, right now. We find that as we choose to feel contentment and fulfillment with who we are and what we have in this moment, everything else starts to fall into place quite naturally.
As Neil Donald Walsh wrote in his book, Conversations with God, “In life, you do not have to do anything. It’s all a question of what you are being.”
And that’s not to say that you can’t have goals, or ambitions, or dreams you wish to create in this lifetime. But rather, it’s about focusing on who you are BEING as you create them.
This requires a certain mindfulness of the energy in which you are choosing to approach your goals. Such as… are you seeking to achieve your dreams because if you don’t you won’t be loved or be given approval? Or are you realizing your ambitions so as to allow the greatest expression of who you are and how you can be of service to the world? Are you working towards something so as to fill a hole? Or are you working towards something from a place of being-ness, a wholeness already fulfilled? Are you, in the process of reaching your goals, compromising your worth, your vales, your truth? Or are you, on the path to stepping into your fullest, in absolute alignment with your wild soul?
This simple, but powerful switch transitions us from a life focused on the scarcity of what we don't have, to one committed to abundance. We begin to realize that there's nothing we need to do, and no one else we need to be... We are already perfect and whole exactly as we are.
Adopting thanksgiving as a way of life is a practical and powerful tool for beginning this transition from reaching and seeking what we aren't and don't possess (scarcity) to giving thanks to what we already are and have (abundance). Rather than a holiday, or just one day, perhaps, every once and a while, thanksgiving can become a way of life.
After logging into my Facebook just a few moments ago, I came across a post from an ex-lover of mine. In the short video clip he shared, there was a man covered in dollar bills carrying a sign that read "Take what you need." He appeared to be walking down a city street in New York City. What happened next made my jaw drop.
The ONLY people to stop and take cash from him were people who appeared to have much more than enough of their own: women with expensive designer handbags, a man with a carefully tailored business suit, a runner passing by on his iPhone.
When the guy pasted with bills walked past a homeless man sitting on a street corner, he gave him permission to come and take whatever he needed. The man thanked him and took two one-dollar bills.
“Are you sure that's all you need?" he asked. "Yeah, man. Just a couple bucks to buy something to eat... That’s really all I need."
If you are reading this now, you very likely possess a computer or a cell phone from which to receive this, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food on your plate. That is more than many human beings on this planet will ever have the opportunity of having.
In a modern society based on the concept of “free-market capitalism,” which measures success on a paradigm of scarcity, expressing gratitude is a radical act. Rather than a dissatisfaction with what you have, a desperate craving for the next best thing, and an endless needy loop of comparison with others, you are left with a sacred sense of joy with what is.
Gratitude is your natural state of being. It is to be open, to express a love devoid of conditions, qualifications, or reservations. Gratitude is the very seed of happiness, of optimism, of joy. It recognizes the bountiful nature of the universe, deeply connecting you to the sacred that lies in everything around within you.
Being grateful, you radiate an energy of abundance; You affirm the grace of wild nature. Being grateful, you tap into a well of infinite energy, a source so great the mind cannot ever conceive.
"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink."
-G. K. Chesterton
When you begin this practice, it may be easiest to start being grateful for those things you really enjoy in your life. Perhaps it's your loving and supportive family, or your children, your job... whatever brings you an easy sense of joy and peace.
Even if it feels like nothing is going right besides your heart beating and your lungs breathing, being grateful for the simple act of living builds the foundation for all greatness to enter. Gratitude is your chance at a fresh, new perspective of where you stand.
By examining difficult situations in your life with grace, perhaps you may begin to see these challenges as great opportunities rather than terrible crises. Fighting with your loved one? Give thanks for the fact that you have people who love you. Dealing with issues at work? Give thanks to have a job. Perhaps the graceful silver lining is dull and corroded right now. So maybe then the grace is being with the pain.
As you dive deeper into this practice, you may begin to find the nuggets of gratitude for the challenges you have been presented with. The times where things didn’t go your way, or the world didn’t make much sense at all. A gratitude practice can be helpful in bringing you back into the present moment during moments of great pain and tremendous challenge.
Ultimately, you'll find, this practice becomes independent of all external circumstance. You begin to see that the practice of being grateful, of giving thanks, indeed no longer depends on whether you like or approve of what you are currently experiencing.
As we open ourselves and welcome every experience in with a sense of thanksgiving, we come to find that every experience has a gift for us to receive. “Seeing all there is to see" takes us from blame, shame, and bitterness to gratitude, honor, and acknowledgement. Every moment becomes an opportunity to be one with our wildness, be one with our truth.
"'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone can say... 'Thank you' expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding."
I invite you to make gratitude a daily practice: create a list of four to five things you are thankful for at the start of each day. If you have trouble finding something, start small... the air in your lungs, the sun in the sky, the clean water that flows from your faucet, the ground beneath your feet. Try to make your list a balanced blend of internal items and processes (ie. the incredible miracle of life that is you, your optimism, your healthy body, etc.) as well as external ones (ie. your family, your partner, your home, etc).
I also like to pause before every meal and give thanks. I find this simple gesture imbues the act of eating, of nourishing my body, with a sacred energy. It also acknowledges the time, energy, and care it took for that food to arrive at my plate. And just as Masaru Emoto's experiments on the power of intention showed how imbuing water with gratitude created sacred geometrical designs under a microscope, we can connect to that power by imbuing our food with gratitude each time we sit to eat.
Ultimately, this practice boils down to energy. If you consistently emit vibrations of abundance, in the form of gratitude, that same vibration will resonate back to you. A regular practice of gratitude has been shown to correlate with higher levels of well-being and fulfillment. By being grateful for what you already have on a regular basis, you call forth more to be grateful for. Gratitude is truly a sacred act.
Gratitude also allows you to take responsibility for the power and privilege you have been granted in this life. For it truly is a privilege to be alive during such a transformational time in history, and gratitude offers us the opportunity to practice our highest good for all.
Making thanksgiving a way of life has been one of the most transformative shifts in my wild soul journey.
Yes, there are massive injustices, incredibly suffering, and inconceivable cruelty in this world. And no, I'm not in denial of them. It has been in acknowledging the gift of this life that I am able to find the strength and the courage to turn and face this darkness of the world with a wide, open heart. It is through gratitude I am able to see all that I am and all I have to be a powerful agent of change in the world. It is through the lifestyle of thanksgiving that I am able to be of greater service to the world by sourcing from a wellspring of unending source energy.
In the end, when you leave this body and this life, you will have to let go of all your possessions, all the titles you’ve held, all the things you’ve worked so hard to achieve. But what you will be left with is the energy of love that you felt and experienced as you moved through life with a sense of gratitude.
This is why we give thanks.