by Ken Rolheiser
Making Gratitude A Habitude and believing in miracles

In a story of creation the birds at first walked with their little feet, and stumbled and hopped. They complained because they could not walk very fast and they had extra weight on their shoulders, these appendages, and they could not figure out why they were given so much burden.

Then one day, one of the little birds stumbled, and as it stumbled forward, the appendages on its shoulders opened and the wings lifted the bird up into the air.
And the bird started to fly. Soon all the birds soared the skies and gave great glory to God because now they could go anywhere at any speed.

"I truly believe we can either see the connections, celebrate them, and express gratitude for our blessings, or we can see life as a string of coincidences that have no meaning or connection. For me, I'm going to believe in miracles, celebrate life, rejoice in the views of eternity, and hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others. This is my choice." Mike Ericksen

Father Brendan McGuire tells us that even in these COVID times, many of us are doing just fine. We have our family and our friends. We have employment. We have a beautiful area where we live. And the list goes on how we are truly graced by God with so much.

It is true! Michael Josephson points out: "The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it." 

Research in psychology and neuroscience tell us that gratitude can be cultivated. We can form habits of gratitude. One way is to list daily five things for which we are grateful. 

How does gratitude make you happy? Gratitude is associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. "It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment." Naomi Williams.

Harvard Health tells us giving thanks can make us happier. Joy does not need to stop during tough times; in fact, we are better off if we allow a little joy into our struggle. A good way to combat depression, which is hanging around us during this Covid-19 period, is to be in touch with our blessings. 

Becky Cane suggests five ways to find joy in tough times: Use the good dishes, make someone else laugh, throw a party, sing and dance, and wear something joyful. And Cane suggests, writing down five things you're grateful for is a whole lot easier than getting your butt out the door for a run.

Use some of these advisedly during Covid-19 lockdowns, but we get the point. Gratitude is the key to living with joy. "Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. ... It makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie

"In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day--or to celebrate each special day." Rasheed Ogunlaru.
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