I’ve always considered gratitude to be a feeling inside. Something that was felt or some special emotion. And, that when I experienced it, it would bring warm feelings and a sense of great well-being. Instead, my recent experience around gratitude has been more action-oriented.
For example, I was having lunch with a friend and her family recently. The portion sizes were really big and everyone had leftovers. I asked the waiter for containers to take my leftovers home, but as I was taking mine, everyone chimed in. “Do you want my black bleans?” “I have some avocado, want to take that, too?” Suddenly, everyone was interested in giving me their leftovers that ended up producing 4 more meals for me and my husband.
Normally I wouldn’t think about taking so many leftovers home, or even be aware of all the meals it produced for me after, but for some reason this time it got in. It wasn’t so much a feeling of thankfulness but rather a true action of gratitude. It was wholesome, right action, and it was fulfilling to eat all the food and leave nothing behind. Like I was thanking the earth, the people who grew the food, those who harvested it, who transported it, who cooked it and the person who served it to me.
It reminds me of what I’ve often heard - that “love” is actually action not necessarily a feeling. I wonder if gratitude and life filled with gratitude is that, too? Action that shows that we are thankful, aware and adult. That we’ve considered others, their efforts and their suffering that might have been a result so I could eat, fill my car with gas, or any other benefit I may experience in my life.
I hope you’ll take a moment to think about this not so much with your head but your heart. When you get your coffee, consider all that went into this cup of coffee (or tea) for you. Bring your heart, your awareness and your total presence. Maybe there, you too, will find magic in the ordinary.