Memories of good experiences...those thoughts that warm us from the inide out and bring a smile to our faces...those are the memories of the heart. And those are the things that we are most often grateful for.
My wise teacher explained to me that gratitude is a simple act of personal liberation; it means activity with humility and without deceit. It also means learning to value what's truly important. Gatitude has four pillars; the cornerstones of our personal joy and happiness.
The first pillar is: Emotional Openess. Many humans, and frogs, too, find it difficult to say thank you. It's almost as if we think it makes us seem weak or vulnerable. Yet we've all come to expect a thank you for the things we do even though we, ourselves, find it difficult to say. But hat we're really looking for aren't shallow words but, rather, we want to be recognized; for the other person to understand that we care. And that we've invested not only our time, but our emotions as well. To practice gratitude, we must be willing to open up emotionally. It's the only way we can really learn about ourselve and others, with an honst, strong, and qn active heart.
The second pillar is this: Gratitude and Recognition are Gifts. There aren't many values that are stronger than recognizing the people around us through gratitude. It's a universal form of appreciation. Gratitude helps us create bonds, or unions, with others. It says to them, "I appreciate you for who you are and I thank you for being a part of, and enriching, my life. The next pillar is: Being Grateful is Not Being Indebted. Just because someone does something nice for you, it doesn't mean that you have to immediately turn around and reciprocate. You are not indebted to the giver. If the giver believes that you are, then they didn't give with a pure heart. Gratitude is an attiude that doesn't push obligations. Gratitude is a way of being, of living, that must transcend all other actions. That being said, even though we don't expect anything in return for our generosity, we do expect to be recognized. Giving with a true heart should be mirrored by receiving with a pure heart. Giving and receiving creates a bond between the two individuals. The fourth, and last, pillar is: Recognizing the Importance of Personal Gratitude. It can seem like we spend half our life thanking others for their generosity, but when was the last time that you thanked yourself? It may seem silly, selfish, and a waste of time to thank ourselves for all that we do, but it's really not. When we are nice to ourselves; when we eat right, get enough sleep, and when we actually get ourselves to the gym...these are all really good reason to offer ourselves a personal thank you. The next time you do something good, or nice, for yourself, rememer to say "Thanks. You're appreciated!" And really mean it. Showing gratitude to ourselves can boost our self-esteem. Self-recogition crosses no boundaries.
So how about we all decide, right here and right now; 1. To act in a more humble manner; 2. To value the simple things we have; 3. To cherish our relationhips, and 4. To value that cool breeze on a hot summer day and all the small things that makes life worth living.
As 2016 draws to a close, this is the perfect time to hone your "Attitude of Gratitude." It's been a wild and cray year for everyone, worldwide. But even with ALL the bad stuff that's happened, we've still had a pretty terrific year; the sun is still shining, the stars are still twinkling, the flowers still bloom and the bees still buzz. Frogs still croak and birds still sing. Our hearts are filled with many wonderful memories and, as Dharma says, "Gratitude is a frog's memory of the heart." And, I'd like to think, a human's, too!