Every so often, I am reminded about being grateful. As a child, I had it hammered into me: thank you letters for presents, thank you’s for anything given to me or done for me, because it was the polite thing to do. It took years for me to recognise gratitude for what it really is: not politeness, but appreciation for the gifts offered to us on a daily basis.

The word grateful links back to two Latin words: gratia, which means a service, a favour given to someone; and gratis which means free, at no cost. Being grateful therefore means originally being full of gifts given to you for free – isn’t that lovely!

It enriches our awareness of all those things that we take for granted in our everyday lives that are simply there for us, should we choose to appreciate them: the natural world; our ability to breathe, think, move, feel; our homes; our food; our friendships and loved ones; beauty in art; wonderful and inspiring words and stories in books, theatre, film; music to make our hearts sing. When I stop to think about the gifts I am given, it is a never-ending list!

And as you consider your own list of things to be grateful for, just notice how it makes you feel. This is not something you ought to be grateful for because it’s a ‘good’ thing to do: it fills us with warmth, a glow; it opens our hearts; it gives us a different perspective on our lives. My gratitude attitude feeds me and enriches my life!

Sometimes there is no-one there to thank, to show your appreciation to – that doesn’t stop me! I enjoy thanking the soil and the weather for nurturing my plants, the birds for singing to me, Bob Dylan for writing such amazing songs! I like to imagine that my thank you’s don’t disappear into thin air, but create a small ray of warmth that feeds into the world and helps to make it a better place.

And if there is someone there to say thank you to, in whatever way – the words, a hug, applause – then that is the least I can do to show my appreciation of their gift to me: driving me to town, delivering my post, saying something lovely, singing or acting beautifully for me.

So just stop for a moment today and look at the different gifts that are given to you – and say thank you!

And thank you for reading my blogs – it delights me to think that someone out there takes some time to read what I have written ad appreciates my words!! Thank you!!

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