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Highway 20 Vista Point

Attitude of Gratitude

By Laurie Woodum

You should be grateful.
You should say thank you.
This does not create a from-the-heart attitude.
Tell me I “should” do or be something, and I’ll show you an instant rebel.

In the not too dim past, I realized that I equated gratitude with being in debt, like an indentured servant. Being in debt implied I needed to pay back and implied payback created resentment (I didn’t ask to be born). Childish, yes, but then we’re all still trying to transcend our childhood.

Then I got it. True gratitude is really appreciation. You can feel it for a sunset, for a person, for being alive, and for getting to see that butterfly cross your path.

And it’s a form of love at its purest. Test it. Next time you are moved to tears over something beautiful, notice how it’s the same feeling as when you look at someone close to your heart and feel a wave of love.

The flip side of gratitude is giving. A gift is a gift but only if given without expectation of any kind of return, including a thank you. OK, I’m a cheap date, but try buying the cappuccino in advance for the next person in line who orders one, or put money in someone’s expired meter and watch your happiness level rise. It’s just plain fun (and easy) to bring small and simple pleasures into someone’s life. And to appreciate those that show up in ours.

Many thanks to friend, Laurie Woodum, who like me lives in the Northern Sierra Foothills of California, 2500′, where we can almost touch the stars while still keeping our soles firmly planted on the ground. 🙂


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