Radical Gratitude

November 2, 2015


Radical gratitude is the practice of being thankful for everything. Everything. It means being grateful for the blankets and bed when you wake up, the steaming cup of a coffee that perks your droopy eyelids open, the hot water in the shower as you get ready for the day. It means being thankful for the crowded subway, the throngs of people pushing and shoving, the blinking red light at your office when you arrive, the loud voice messages from upset clients or customers, the slew of emails from your boss or coworkers.  It means, quite literally, everything.


But, of course, this doesn’t mean seeing the positive in the so-called bad, as this list would suggest.  It means acknowledging all the positive everywhere, often by shifting your perspective. 


More on that in a moment, but why is gratitude so important?  As other writers have said, gratitude is a powerful state of being, an energetic frequency, that says there is no lack. You have all that you need, you are not wanting. Gratitude is the state of wholeness where everything is perfect as it is. The feeling of gratitude is exceptionally close to how the energy of the Divine feels because it reflects that perfect wholeness. 


Sometimes practices to cultivate gratitude can feel forced, like you’re pushing to be happy about everything. But it’s not about being “happy” with everything. Gratitude is about acknowledging that whatever the universe is bringing you at that moment is exactly what you need, and therefore, you’re not without what you need. Plentiful is the word that best describes what gratitude conveys.  Yet, plentiful something feels overwhelming, like when the universe decides to “test” you and send you lots of lessons.  Later you will be thankful for them, even if at the moment they can push your buttons and unnerve you.  


Cultivating radical gratitude goes beyond the lists of things that seem really good to you, like the obvious miracles when money you needed just showed up, or the friend you were missing calls you out of the blue, or the synchronicities that lead you to a new contact/experience/venture. Those are all wonderful, and by no means should they be downplayed. But focusing on the high points obscures the ways in the universe is entirely made of love and that love is available to you at all times, even in the smallest of ways. So when you get that cup of coffee, be grateful for the cup holding it, for the coffee maker that made it, for the coffee beans that were grown for your cup, for the coffee farmers and workers whose hands made it possible for the beans to get to you, for the water coming from the tap that is cleaned and made available by municipal workers.  Be thankful for all of that, and many other things that worked together for you to drink that single cup of coffee.


You can do the same with the trip to work. Where you see a crowded subway or overburdened highway, jostling with people and a potentially stressful morning commute, turn your attention instead to what is working: that someone is driving a train, and stopping to pick you up, and carry you to the place that supports you financially or that someone built and paved this highway and the car that you’re in, which is now transporting you somewhere you could not otherwise have reached. That people are all sharing in this same venture – yes, perhaps too many people, your mind says! – but all working in unison towards a similar goal. 


When you practice radical gratitude, you begin to see the perfection in everything and how the universe works to make possible so many small actions and events that make up 99% of your life. When you practice radical gratitude, you no longer have to wait for the “big” things to show up to feel the positivity. Instead, you find it in the seemingly mundane experiences, even ones that seem negative on the surface. So shift your perspective and focus on what works, all the small bits of support and love you get throughout your day. After some time, you’ll feel the perfection in everything, including in that morning cup of coffee.

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