I’m no etymologist, but thanks to the magic of the Internet I can pretend to be one. I have learned that in many languages—Old French, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Lithuanian, and even Sanskrit—the root of the word
is linked to the word for thanks, or grace . And so to keep from getting lost in the business of Thanksgiving—the overcrowded supermarket on Wednesday afternoon, the flight so delayed that it results in dried-out turkey and twice-warmed pie, those moments when our families don’t warm our hearts and souls—here is a completely unscientific gathering of thoughts on gratitude from some writers who inspire me. gratitude
Gratitude is a gracious acknowledgment of all that sustains us, a bow to our blessings, great and small. Gratitude is the confidence in life itself. In it, we feel how the same force that pushes grass through cracks in the sidewalk invigorates our own life….Gratitude receives in wonder the myriad offerings of rain and sunlight, the care that supports every single life.
The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology, by Jack Kornfield
i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes
100 Selected Poems, by e. e. cummings
“Thanks” is a huge mind-shift, from thinking that God wants our happy chatter and a public demonstration and is deeply interested in our opinions of the people we hate, to feeling quiet gratitude, humbly and amazingly, without shame at having been so blessed.
Near-death experiences and encounters with one’s own mortality are often clarifying tools with which to cut away inessentials and cleave to the essence of life. Illnesses and accidents can produce the same reinvigorated gratitude and appetite.
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster, by Rebecca Solnit
Gratitude is a way of undercutting your ego.…That awakening, that awareness, transforms your way of dealing with life, with people, and with all things.
Awakening to Gratitude, by Dr. Alfred Bloom
To live a life of gratitude is to open our eyes to the countless ways in which we are supported by the world around us.
Naikan: Gratitude, Grace, and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection, by Gregg Krech
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne
One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.
Say thank you.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed
It turns out that bliss—a second-by-second joy + gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious—lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (tax returns, televised golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Constant bliss in every atom.
The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace