The practical aspect of gratitude, one at least, is that gratitude allows for experience to unfold on a continuum in accord with life unfolding as it does, rather than in fits and starts. When we cannot locate gratitude, we go back to before the experience in order to start again, not fresh but within the sticky stuff of dissatisfaction. Gratitude is not, Oh, I learned my lesson that time, never going to do that again! That’s just ingratitude in a thin disguise, a false mustache and dusty toupee. The facts are better, a more stable bridge to gratitude – the job paid my rent for a year, two, ten, kept a roof over my head and food in my mouth. I don’t have to look far to know that I am fortunate in that. Or with her I had this child, this completely unique contribution to the ongoingness of life. Or my dad, he was in part responsible for me having life, for the first breath without which nothing else would be possible, including this moment. These expressions meet life where it is, providing the space and depth necessary for healing gratitude, the kind that stops negative patterns in their tracks and allows for steady new steps built on the foundation of what has been gathered. This is the kind of gratitude that infuses rather than embitters and that allows us to move beyond the situation or person if the fit is no longer working. Simple as that, moving beyond because the fit is wrong – an assertion of will that is not at the expense of love.
g a t h e r i n g s