There is a scene in the movie Joe Versus The Volcano, staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, where Hanks’ character, Joe is floating somewhere in the ocean on a raft made from four large Louis Vuitton trunks strapped together. One night, on the verge of death, Joe looks up to see a enormous and brilliantly lit moon. Joe struggles to stand, raises up his arms, and says “Thank you for my life.” He then collapses. The next morning he is saved.
Joe wasn’t alone on the raft, Meg Ryan’s character was with him and he had been giving her all the food and water rations. He sacrificed himself from a place of fullness. He wasn’t seeking to get something back, he was giving because she was important to him. He could not live with himself to let her die.
In the financial world, when something goes up in value it is said to appreciate in value. Gratitude then, is a recognition of value. When you look at your life what do you value? When you look at the world; what do you value? In the Christian bible, after creating heaven and earth, God says, “It is good.” In the Armenian Orthodox tradition it is interpreted that God said, “It is beautiful.” Is it possible for you to see the good and the beautiful all around you? If you are able to see the good and the beautiful all around, you will see with eyes that see more like the creative force in the universe. If you can see like the Creator then your ability to improve your life is increased.
Gratitude is a way to see the good and the beautiful in everything around you and about you. In fact when you are truly grateful no words are needed. Imagine you’ve cooked a meal for someone, they politely eat it, smiles and says thank you. Next imagine the same guest wolfing down the food, making moans and groans of hedonistic joy, sitting back when finished with a big satisfied grin patting his stomach. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t need to be told thank you. How often do you feel such pleasure and satisfaction for just being alive?
How about when you look in the mirror or at your life; what do you see about you and your life that’s good and beautiful? If you don’t see much good or beauty, it’s not that it’s not there, it’s more likely that you’ve trained your brain to see only the bad parts of life. I challenge you over the next 21 days to list five things every morning and evening that you appreciate and are grateful for in your life.