Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.
Posted by Bel
I hope I can tackle this topic without seeming all Pollyanna-ish... I was explaining to someone the other day that my main tool for dealing with any challenging situation is gratitude. The concept of conscious gratitude was first revealed to me in the Simple Abundance books by Sarah Ban Breathnach in the ‘90s. If I can find at least one positive to every negative, then life’s on even keel. And it is all about balance, after all! If I can find lots of positives in my life, then life’s good!
Sometimes I almost believe my family and friends when they tell me I’m just too busy, overworked, or just plain crazy. Juggling kids, homeschooling, relationship and friendships, a business, the farm and animals and volunteering in the community as well... Yes, life is full. But it’s really just a season. Already I have one adult child, and within a decade all six will be grown up! I am currently selling my business, after an enjoyable few years of nurturing it from a hobby to a real source of income. Sometimes farm life is very demanding with lots of baby animals to nurture, gardens needing overhauling, the cow to milk once or twice a day (which leads to lots of time in the kitchen processing and preserving the abundance). And sometimes it’s a lot quieter – waiting for babies, no milking, fallow gardens or just enough rain and sunshine to ignore the lot and let it grow! So many 'seasons'.
Remembering the quiet times, and appreciating them for what they are, fuel me through the inevitable hectic times of my life. Sometimes I am so rushed that, for example, sitting and waiting for the cow troughs to fill with water could easily irritate me. But instead of feeling frustrated about what else I could be doing, I feel gratitude for the chance to sit (even in the drizzling rain) and look around me - to Be. I glance at the nut trees, feeling blessed at their maturity and abundant crops; the bee hives full of busy workers who not only create delicious honey for us, but also pollinate our gardens and orchard; the kilometres of fences my darling husband built and repaired so that we could keep large animals like by beloved cows and that crazy horse; the water flowing from the hose – gravity-fed, clean, fresh spring water which keeps on coming all the year round; my cows and their offspring - the companionship, mowing, milk and even meat our herd provide us with. I am surrounded by such abundance! To everyone else it looks like hard work - muddy, smelly, physically challenging, expensive, responsibility-laden hobby farming! But I know I am blessed and I am grateful for the chance to live this dream I’ve held for so many years.
To read more about gratitude on the co-op, see:
Gratitude by Aurora
Being Grateful by Eilleen
Bloom When you are Planted – a Note from the Frugal Trenches
Enough by Bel
Tell me, do you use conscious gratitude as a tool to cope with the pressures of your life? Perhaps you keep a gratitude journal or have some other ritual? Please leave a Comment with your experiences, or share something you are grateful for...