Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre-Given Thanks...

We often say "thank you" in return for a good deed or a kind word. But why wait? Henry Simoni-Wastila, my minister husband, raised this idea last Sunday before our Unitarian Universalist congregation. He says it much better than I, so here's an excerpt from his sermon:

If you are thankful, you cannot help but feel that you have been blessed, that you have been given something good. We can be expectantly thankful - pre-grateful - having a priori gratitude. Now, logicially, that may not make sense. Logically, we should wait for good things to walk our way and then be thankful afterwards. After all, it's a little rude to be thankful for something you haven't been given yet!

I am suggesting that we be grateful first. But isn't that jumping the gun? Yes. But pre-existing gratitude can be a general philosophical attitude towards existence. Gratitude before the fact can be a religios response to reality as a whole. You don't need to have a specific thing or event to be thankful about.

In psychology, it is said that in trying to be happy, we can start acting happy and then real happiness will start to develop on its own. Sometimes, when I am tired or sad, I just smile. It makes me feel a little better. The Buddha's smile is on a face that has seen it all, and yet can still, while being aware of the impermanent nature of all, still smile. So tune yourself into that Buddha's smile.

This same psychological principle of "acting happy in order to be happy" might apply to a religious pre-positioning of gratitude, If you think of your life as something you should give thanks for, then there may develop in your life things that you will be thankful for.

Pre-Gratitude. Nice. Sort of like "pay it forward". Pre-positioning my gratitude, here are the things I give thanks to:

--My husband, for being himself and always stretching in new ways, and my children for evolving into the fascinating individuals they will become

--My parents, for sharing their truths so I can understand mine

--My sister, for sharing her joys and fears

--My fellow writers - Chrys, Jimmy, Deborah, Kim, Marg, Steve - for sharing their lives and their stories and their successes. Their generosity knows no bounds...

--The friends I have now, and the ones I have not yet met.

--My mentors, they are so numerous, I am so blessed...

--My mind, for not failing me and leading me on wondrous journeys

--Each morning, for it signals a new day, a new adventure - and isn't that what life is all about?

EVENT!!!!!!! If you're in the vicinity of the Big Apple this weekend, check out THE BEST MEMOIRISTS PAGEANT EVER. Both published and deserve-to-be-published writers will be reading their memoirs at the The Bowery Poetry Club. My personal fave is my writing buddy and friend Chrys Buckley. We finally met this week, but that's the subject for a future blog. She's a brave, lovely, sweet young woman who wields a fiery pen and a powerful voice. Catch her reading from MOONCHILD this Saturday, 24 November 1 2007 at 3:00 pm. The Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery, NYC.

For what are you grateful now and in your future? Peace, Linda

1 comment:

  1. Pre-positioned gratitude... great idea. I like the idea of being grateful ahead of time - what a gorgeous world we'd live in if everyone had that attitude... Lisa