where a woman can build her strength and freedom

How can I become a more grateful person?

The picture shows written pages formed in a heart shape and glowing from the light of a candle representing that a grateful person is an aware person.

When we were little, most of us were taught to say “Thank you.”
Some of us were even taught to write thank you notes!
To appear civilized, we know we must say thank you.
But unless our words come from a grateful heart
they are empty.

How often do we give words from a grateful heart?
If our answer is: Not very often,
the problem is not with our words, but with our heart.

A full heart overflows.
Looks like the question we really need to ask is:
How do I fill my heart with gratitude?

I would love to offer you some ideas.
Are you with me?
Let’s DO this!

Someone to thank

I was not a grateful person when I was growing up.
I did not see that the beauty of my life was what I was receiving from my parents.
My meals, my warm bed, my house, my yard to play in, my books, my cat.
I just lived day to day, with no awareness of any reason or need to be thankful.

I wasn’t raised with any religious teaching.
My father was a Christian, my mother a Unitarian.
She said I would figure it out for myself (for which freedom I am very grateful.)

It wasn’t until I was 26, a few years after I had given birth to two babies,
that I was hit with the sudden awareness:
I have been given two children!!!

These babies came through my body, but I certainly didn’t create them!
They were given to me. I was stunned. It was a shocking revelation.
I need somebody to thank!!! I suddenly realized.

This was the beginning of a spiritual search that led to my becoming a Christian.
I was finally able to express the gratitude I felt for my children.
No one told me I should be grateful.
I became grateful by realizing the beauty of what I had been given.

What are we unaware of?

A grateful heart is built with awareness.
Our heart begins to fill with gratitude as we become aware
of the gifts we are receiving.

what are you receiving today that you do not realize?
Whose gifts do you not see?

To turn this around:
Are YOU being a blessing to someone who does not see YOU?
How does it feel to be invisible?
Let’s resolve to not make anyone feel that way!

Our gifts of freedom

Freedom is perhaps the gift we are least aware of.
The one we most take for granted.
Our freedom feels as natural as breathing
–till there’s no oxygen in it.

In her song Big Yellow TaxiJoni Mitchell sings:
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone

Have a listen:
Joni Mitchell sings Big Yellow Taxi.

Like the precious trees in her song, our freedom is vulnerable.
Protecting our trees and our freedom will take all our grateful hearts.
Let’s make sure we know what we have!

We have our hard won freedom as American citizens, based in our Constitution.
We also have simple everyday freedoms we only realize after they are gone:

Our simple freedoms

We lose our job, and we think:
Wow, it was wonderful when I was free of fear about having enough money
for my food and rent.”

We have physical pain, and:
Wow, it was wonderful when I was free of this painful suffering.”

Our dog dies:
Wow, it was wonderful when me and Scout ran free every day in the park!”

We get a serious diagnosis:
Wow, it was wonderful when I was free of fear and didn’t live under this shadow.”

So let’s challenge ourselves:
Are we grateful during the good long times when we have our lovely freedoms?

It’s time to open our eyes

I’m blind. You’re blind.
Each of us is blind in our own way.
Can we open our eyes and see how free we are?
Be grateful in our hearts
then look together at what is missing and still needs to be built?

Can we open our eyes and see the good in ourselves and our fellow citizens?
Be grateful in our hearts
then look together at what is missing and still needs to be built?

Can we all open new eyes and see the light surrounding us?
I believe we can.
Who we thank is up to each of us.
But with our grateful hearts we will change the world.


What is your heart grateful for?

I hope you will write and tell me!

Dr. Hall