I had the opportunity to attend an ecumenical Thanksgiving service earlier this week that was hosted by six different faith communities. As people arrived they were given strips of cloth and asked to write something that they were grateful for on them. The cloths were later ritually tied to our Gratitude Tree, which “bloomed” in thanksgiving by the end of the evening.
The bare tree by the river . . .
The main speaker was from an indigenous community, and offered a wonderful insight into gratitude and being thankful. She began by saying that in her culture, the idea of setting aside one day to give thanks is a foreign concept, as her tradition asks that they give thanks everyday. She explained how when tribes come together for meetings they begin by giving thanks for all that is around them; the trees, the wind, the sun, the moon and stars, the rivers and streams, even the earth itself. When they are grateful for all things, then they are of "one thought" with all of creation and with each other.
. . . bloomed with gratitude by the evening's end.
I’ve been thinking of how our world might be different, if before we opened, meetings, held summits, or began legislative years, we took the time to begin from a place of gratitude for the good things that universe has blessed us with, and recognized from that place of that gratitude, our call to be stewards of creation and of each other. What a difference we might see in our world today.
***Are there any rituals of Gratitude that you do?