My mother was a great stickler for writing thank you letters. When I was young, she used to sit me down a day or two after Christmas or a birthday with a pen and paper and stand over me as I wrote the same letter with variations. It was endless! Dear Auntie/ Uncle/Granny, etc. …..Thank you very much for my ……. I love playing with it/using it….lots of love Sally xx
I got very bored writing my thank you letters.
Of course, when I was little, I was also taught that it was courteous to say thank you when someone did something for me, or gave me some unexpected gift or praised me for something I’d done. “Say thank you” would come the command and I would dutifully repeat the words. I was also taught a prayer of thanks which we used to say at school and it was something like “Thank you for the flowers so sweet, thank you for the food we eat, thank you for the birds that sing, thank you God for everything”. This was always delivered in a singsong voice at top speed with no thought whatsoever about what the words really meant!
For quite a while, my attitude to gratitude was cemented into these childhood memories. But my real understanding of the healing implications of expressing true gratitude came many years later when a friend suggested I went to an abundance workshop with her. This workshop, which was run by an Indian Reiki Master called Upen (pr. Oopen) , was a turning point in my life, for it made me take stock of all my negative thinking patterns and limited beliefs and realise how damaging they were to my self-esteem, my well-being and my financial situation. I did truly believe that unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, earning enough money was always likely to be a struggle. Financial problems had been a disturbing background scenario as I was growing up and I actually hated money because it had caused so much trouble within the family. To me it was most definitely the root of all evil!
Upen spent the morning dismantling such beliefs and similar ones held by others in the class, and began steering us towards some new ways of thinking. Could we see that fulfilment was a form of abundance? And receiving love, too? Did we not realise that love was the energy of the Universe and that by opening to that, we forge a direct connection to an unlimited supply of love? Had we ever noticed that love only ever seemed to be lacking when we sought it outside of ourselves? How much did we truly love ourselves? Could we commit to appreciating our gifts, skills and talents instead of always judging ourselves so harshly? Did we see that learning to love oneself is a prime factor in attracting abundance because by doing so, you open to believing you are worthy enough to receive it? True wealth, we were told, is a state of mind and nothing to do with how much money you have in the bank. By feeling abundant, you become abundant.
We were also taught that the simplest way to attract abundance was to develop an attitude of gratitude. We were shown how important it was to be grateful for both the big and the small things that came into our lives. I remember Upen saying: “if you see a penny lying on the pavement, pick it up. Don’t leave it there because it’s only a penny. – One penny can become lots of pennies!!” How often, I wondered, did I overlook similar pieces of abundance in my life simply because it might have come in a seemingly insignificant package, or worse, something I thought I didn’t want or need at the time? I came to learn to gratefully accept all the little bits of abundance that came my way.
Upen told us that the more we gave thanks for EVERYTHING the more things in our lives would slot into place. Synchronicities would happen which could lead to undreamt of meetings and opportunities. As we practiced all of these things, so our lives would become happier, and our personal energetic emanations would escalate and start to resonate with the higher vibrations of love which is the energy of the universe. The path to living an abundant life lay in learning new ways of thinking about our lives, ourselves, our world and others. By maintaining a positive mental attitude and looking for the good in every situation – good or bad – you can, little by little, raise your vibrations and attract relatively effortless positive outcomes and solutions.
I found these teachings totally inspirational and immediately began acting upon them. However, changing old habits of limited beliefs and thinking takes time and effort and you can’t achieve it overnight! Nevertheless, pretty soon, I began to see that putting these ideas into practice was a gateway to all manner of new opportunities and positive experiences coming into my life. As time went on, I became much more optimistic and a great deal happier than I had ever been as I began to see how much this simple technique could change my world.
Right now, Nature is steering us into the season which is very much associated with gratitude. Autumn is enveloping us, wrapping us up in her liquid golden sun, her mists, her rich, burnished colours and her abundant mellow fruitfulness. It’s harvest time. It’s a time of celebration and feasting and a time of giving thanks for the cornucopia of foods and berries that Nature provides us with at this time of year. What are your fruits? Where have you grown this year? What have you learnt? Allow this beautiful season to open your heart and welcome every good thing that has come into your life this year and give thanks for each one of them.
Even if you’re already cultivating an attitude of gratitude (and you may have been doing so for some time), remember that it never hurts to do a bit of revision!! Why not renew your commitment? And if the idea of this is all new to you, make a pledge to yourself to practice focussing on gratitude instead of lack and notice how much better it makes you feel!
Let’s tune into the energies of the season! Remember all the things you’re grateful for. Make lists, write them down. Remind yourself before you go to sleep each night of anything that happened during the day for which you’re grateful. These things don’t have to be massive events. They can be day-today happenings. e.g. Thanks for the wonderful summer we’ve had this year; thanks for avoiding getting a cold; thanks for bringing me in touch with that dear old friend; thanks for a roof over my head; thanks for the love of my friends and family. And start your day by sending out gratitude to those who have helped you and to those you love.
Cultivating gratitude is a process that needs constant work but it’s so well worth the time and effort you put into it. However, it’s very easy to slip into the old habits of focussing on lack when things get difficult. And because we’re human there’s always a danger of forgetting to be vigilant and aware of negative thoughts creeping back into our minds. If this happens, don’t beat yourself up. Just get your thoughts back into a more positive groove again as fast as you can and carry on practicing gratitude. You’ll be amazed at the differences you can make!
“Abundance isn’t something we acquire. It’s something we tune into” – Wayne Dyer