by Michelle Spiritbird Harris
Gratitude. Such a simple word with meanings larger than we fully comprehend. In many indigenous cultures gratitude is a daily practice. It is not reserved for one day a year but for every day that
we are blessed to awaken and see a new day. It is expressed in prayer, dance, music, art, love, service, and faith, and in how we live our daily lives. It is most often felt when we feel we have the gifts of family, healthy food, shelter, clothing, and what we need most.
Most importantly, it is felt and expressed when we sense and see the presence of our Creator in all things, including ourselves. Being thankful is meant to be experienced every day as we connect with humanity, the beauty of nature, the gifts of love, and the light that shines within us all. It is also expressed in our ability to truly know God in a way that can be felt in the root of our being and in our hearts.
When we have a daily practice of giving thanks, our blessings increase. Why? Because we attract to ourselves more of the good in which we connect to. We attract more of a feeling of walking with Spirit and of being in harmony with that which brings beauty into our daily lives-no matter how difficult our lives are. Difficulties will always be present. Hard times, suffering, and loss are part of the human journey but once we seek with gratitude that which is good, the more we will be able to overcome that which is painful.
True thankfulness must be felt within your heart. It is not enough to say a prayer with your mouth expecting that you will feel blessed. When gratitude resides in a humble heart then even the smallest gift of Creation becomes what we connect to. We will start to delight as a child does in that which God has made. We will begin to feel the spark of the Creative life force as it surges through our weary bodies. We can become a true part of all that is beautiful and of all that carries the spirit of love.
There is a certain magic to learning to be grateful and connected to the Great Spirit. This magic can be witnessed whether we are in a hospital bed, prison, abusive situation, or poverty. Awaken each morning and say to God; “Thank you for this one humble life. Thank you for a new day to serve you. Thank you for a new opportunity to begin anew and do what you have me here to do. Thank you for my loved ones and for each gift you give me. Thank you for this breathe. Thank you for making me a part of your magnificent Creation and for giving me a purpose.
Open my spirit to see, hear, and feel you in all that I witness today– in my fellow relations. in my brothers and sisters of all races, in the four-legged, the winged ones, in the trees, in the water, in the wind, and in the Earth Mother.
Please allow me to know you so that I may be in good relationship with you, my Creator.”
This prayer or prayers of your own making will transform your life no matter where you are. You will create a peace within you and around you as you begin to align yourself with your most sacred of gifts. YOU, my friend, are not your circumstances, nor your past mistakes. YOU are a divine creation of God. Every day you are given a new beginning. Begin your day with thankfulness as you see your part in the Great Circle of life. Your life is a precious gift and treasure that only you possess. Celebrate “Thanksgiving” every day and you will remember that you are connected to all that is sacred.
Michelle SpiritBird Harris is a teacher of indigenous medicine ways, spiritual counselor, professional writer, ordained minister, and owner/director of Mother’s Cottage (a non-profit charity) and Tribal Nature-Back to Earth Ministries. This small excerpt has been taken from her upcoming book, Mending Your Broken Wings. Article is copyrighted. All rights reserved and owned by Michelle Harris. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org