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Having A Thankful Heart

Zoom in. Focus. Notice the detail. Appreciate what's right in front of you.

As opposed to seeing everything. Not really noticing anything. Being concerned about things that are out of your sphere of influence. Missing what's right in front of you.

Gratefulness is something we easily take for granted. Our blessings become familiar things. We get used to being healthy, having a bed to sleep on, staying dry when it rains, connecting to the internet, meeting a friend for coffee, reading Bible without fear of being killed, driving around in a car, opening the fridge and taking out something to eat, falling asleep at night, waking up again the next morning, having clean running water, being part of a community, having people around who love you, being able to think for yourself, able to voice your opinion without fear, being free to live your life.

We forget these things.

We forget them because we begin to calculate them.

These things become part of the everyday equation that makes up the sum of our lives. When not viewed in the context of the miraculous, we fail to see the sacred in the mundane. At least, that's how we label it with our minds - 'mundane'.

To discover the divine in the everyday, a shift needs to take place. Our calculating minds - a phrase that I learnt from Richard Rohr - fall short in appreciating the ordinary miracles that make up our lives. Only our contemplative minds, or our hearts, have the capacity for this. It's when we allow ourselves to become aware of what we have - to accept, appreciate, and enjoy this one life we've been given, that we have a change of heart, which simply means shifting perspective from the mind to the heart.

Hearts see with love, compassion, and grace.

Hearts have empathy, accepts, and creates capacity.

Hearts don't judge, measure, or compare.

Hearts beat. Non-stop. Ensuring life for every single cell.

Hearts are selfless.

Having a thankful heart is having a certain stance in life - a state to be in, or a way of living:

A body open and poised to give - breathing deeply and noticing every breath.

A mind focused on the here-and-now, noticing the wonderful details of your life.

A mouth filled with language of thanksgiving and appreciation.

Try this:

Sit still for a moment - a minute if you can - and simply notice your breathing. Be thankful for this.

Slow down for a moment - a minute if you can - and write down three wonderful details of your life.

Be silent for a moment - a minute if you can - place your hand on your heart - feel it beating. Say thank you for this rhythm of life.

Notice the healthy emotions that arise in you as you cultivate gratitude.

It truly is a grounding experience.

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