I was at a workshop on Indigenous awareness and cultural sensitivity recently which brought to mind a different perspective on gratitude.
The benefit of practicing gratitude is that you re-wire your brain which shifts how you deal with the day-to-day business of living.
In the workshop the facilitator shared a story of how some Indigenous people view buffalo. The buffalo was not just a source of sport for hunting or for food, it was also source of clothing and shelter. “The sinew was used for thread, the bones for tools and the skull was used for spiritual purposes”(Introduction to the Medicine Wheel pg. 13 Bear Standing Tall Corporate Training). This way of thinking reminded me of the need to connect the dots to what we are grateful for.
Here are some examples:
I am grateful for my morning coffee.
I was once working in a remote village and ran out of coffee. I had 3 more weeks to go before I could get to a city and coffee!
I am also grateful to the people who harvest the coffee; that I am able to buy fair trade coffee; that I can support a local business owner and that I can be around a grounding, accepting energy whenever I visit the coffee house to buy my beans.
I am grateful for being able to arrive to work without incident.
I lived in a city under a state of emergency a few years ago. I was never certain whether I would be turned back at the office because it was closed due to violence on the streets or if I’d get caught up in a riot on my way to or from work.
I remember living in the north of England at the time of the 7/7 bombings in London. A few days later I had to use the London transit system. Everyone was subdued and on edge.
Living in a big city now, I actively practice thanks for a transit system that does it’s best to make passengers mindful of behavior that will not be tolerated (They have advertisements up of what will not be tolerated – discrimination, racism, sexual harassment, aggressive behavior and what actions to take.). They also have protocols in place in case of a terrorist attack. Yes, there are delays but I’m thankful I always arrive at my destination in once piece.
I am grateful for being able to eat 3 meals a day.
There was a time I’d skip meals to pay the rent and my tuition fees.
I am grateful that I can afford wholesome, nutritious options the whole day through.
So, what are you grateful for today?