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How does gratitude show up in your life?

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Workbook Exercise: My Rule of Life

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Transcript of Video:

I think I’d start by saying – I’d begin with a sense of deep gratitude for the gift of life itself. That we are, I am, these living beings that God created and the gift of life is a gift. And I think the best way to say thank you to the giver of that gift is to use the gift and cherish the gift and enjoy the gift. For me, a Rule of Life or building a trellis, which is a kind of Rule of Life, is about optimizing the conditions for my own life that give me a kind of balance and maximizes exposure to light, to use the plant metaphor growing on a trellis. It is a way of providing stability in my life when other things are unstable or unpredictable. The trellis also in some ways has its own integrity, its own beauty as a structure. I am thinking of a trellis in the garden; in the wintertime you just see the trellis and the plant is dormant. And sometimes we go through these winter times of life when life feels a little dormant but we have this structure, the daily rhythm, the daily routine, that we do anyway and it has its own beauty, even if we are not quite connecting with it in the moment.

– Br. Mark Brown

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31 Comments

  1. Jaan Sass on February 2, 2017 at 10:39

    How does gratitude show up in my life? I am greatful that I can put a name to what I struggle with mentally and can find ways to compensate. I find gratitude in my friendships and family. I find gratitude for every day I am alive.

  2. Linda on June 17, 2016 at 10:24

    I am very thankful that I am not under direct Christian persecution. So much is happening to others that I am thankful I can live in peace. I had to change churches a few times to find this peace. But I am glad I have it in the episcopal church. I am thankful to learn we never had control in the world. I am thankful to live in Gods graces. I am thankful to trust God and just be. I am glad our church doesn’t preach politics but Christ. He is all I need. The older I get and the more I learn the rule the less I need of anything and life has more beauty.

  3. Joanna Cotter on March 26, 2016 at 15:06

    Certainly, I experience gratitude for my person, my family( especially for my daughters) and my friends. But I also have gratitude for simple acts, remembrances, and the joy of opening flowers, birds chirping, the breeze on my back as I bicycle, and the profound serenity of my yoga class. As I continue to grown self, I have gratitude that I am bold, not old. God bless. An Easter for hope.

  4. Roderic Brawn on March 19, 2016 at 10:49

    I don’t show as much gratitude in life as I might, perhaps. I do attend our parish church services weekly, and I sing in the Senior Choir. I think the way I respond to what has been given to me in life needs to be modified so at the time that I receive the gifts I demonstrate more thanks.

  5. Bobbi on March 17, 2016 at 08:03

    I love your prayer, breathing in very, breathing out grateful. I will use it on my walk today.

    • a city monk on March 25, 2016 at 11:36

      Bobbi… wanted you to know how the very grateful practice is beginning to bud and to bloom…
      Just the first repetition of
      Very
      Grateful…
      brings a visceral change to my physiology.
      A switching attention from disturbed peace to a deepening of peace and calming center.

      Highway, on cue in a store, ahh even at the laundromat bane of my shortening fuse… as I push myself to finish more than I should have started in the first place, but was quit doable just a few years ago. It is different than ‘contentment’. Very grateful… celebrates the awareness of all that’s given as… given… as… gift.
      And here in Holy Week… very grateful…
      sounds the prayer of my heart.

  6. a city monk on March 15, 2016 at 23:36

    Thanks to Bobbi sharing his mom’s “very grateful”…
    I’ve been holding that peace in my heart. As a thought to return to, as a reminder, as a contemplation of how the moment is changed with just breathing into “very grateful”. My pace actually slows. Hard to rush to push against, very grateful.

    It is different than praise and thanksgiving…

    Years ago a very wise person gave me the gift of “humility precedes gratitude”. What “very grateful” does in my heart is deepen humility… it carries both the vertical and the horizontal… very grateful… such humility. Very grateful a school of humility…

    • Bobbi on March 16, 2016 at 08:18

      I am VERY GRATEFUL for your comment and that my mom’s final words are still being heard.
      Thank you for the phrase that “humility precedes gratitude.” My mom was very humble. I have much to continue learning from her.

      • a city monk on March 16, 2016 at 11:04

        I’ve been holding very grateful as a “prayer of the heart”. And its served as communion in moments and situations that I’ve found difficult or distant. Sometimes, the prayer of the heart will alternate between very grateful and praise and thanksgiving. Both riding on the breath inhale very and exhale grateful…

        This is a beautiful prayer of the heart a seed already sprouting a great spring unfolding.
        peace and all good

  7. Eugene Wright on March 15, 2016 at 23:16

    Gratitude shows up in my life the moment I opened my eyes in the morning. I am great full all day long. I pray in the morning starting out with thanking God for everything from the previous day; I thank him for watching over me through the night and I thank Him most of all for waking up in the morning and giving me another day to do His will. I am grate full when I am driving and when I stop. I am grate full for every thing that happens all day long.

  8. Stan on March 15, 2016 at 21:31

    Gratitude shows up in many ways in my life. Every time I see someone excel in something that I’ve taught them. Every time someone gives me a big smile after I’ve helped them. Walking outside and being surrounded by bird songs. Every time I ease myself out of bed in the morning and am blessed with little to no pain. Just embracing the warmth and comfort of having a home to live in, with good food on the table. But most of all, my most precious gift, being able to spend my life with my loving wife. Ahhhhhhh yessssssss. That’s a life of gratitude.

  9. gwedhen nicholas on March 15, 2016 at 09:53

    I am grateful for my life. I have so much. There is nothing more that I desire, because I have God, and all that He gives. I have a solid, warm house, I have plenty to eat, and plenty of clean water to drink, I have a wonderful family and good friends, I have hot and cold water that comes out of taps, I have sanitation, I have electric lights, I have the beauty of nature, I have prayer and books which enlighten me. What more could I ask for?

  10. Dorothy P. on March 14, 2016 at 22:29

    Coming home from work to find a vase of fresh roses from the garden where my husband knows I will find them… My son & I swinging in a hammock together in the backyard before dinner… And that’s just today. ☺

  11. susan zimmerman on March 14, 2016 at 20:42

    …gratitude show up in my life everday by just thinking about the people i loved and love…

    …gratitude show ups when God (the Infinite) sneaks a line of words into a (finite life) and you know that they were just for you…it was just to obvious..e.g. when you read a scripture, which had significant value and go to church the next day and unexpectedly hear it read at a funeral or some similar experience…word for word..its something even prophetic! The prophets were really real ha!

  12. Kristi on March 14, 2016 at 20:25

    I can think of 2 things that have happened in my life that have cemented my sense of gratitude for life. The first was the sudden death of my father in my early 20’s. That obviously rocked me to the core but changed my appreciation of life tenfold. The second thing was giving birth to my twin children- talk about a miracle!!! Since those 2 events I don’t take life for granted. I am infinitely grateful for the greatest gift there is- LIFE.

  13. Robert on March 14, 2016 at 15:39

    I am working to get better at being grateful, even for the smallest things that are positive in my life.

  14. Russell on March 14, 2016 at 14:39

    At the start of nearly every day, my wife and I pray and I always begin “Eternal Lord, we thank you for this day and we thank you for our lives…” I am amazed every day that I open my eyes and can arise and interact with the world God has made. This gratitude is expressed through a deep and continuing reverence for all living things and, especially, for my fellow beings. It is my intention to tread carefully and mind the lives of others. I find myself deeply frustrated with I offend others or forget their important lives and needs. In my personal relationships, I offer thanks every chance I get for mercies small and large. I find myself praying several times a day to thank God for some morsel of joy or grace that I recognize affects me. I yearn to be supportive to family, friends, colleagues in their daily journeys out of gratitude for their company and work. I find myself unexpectedly joyful travelling to work and gatherings, starting projects and completing them. I am grateful for these experiences and the joy they are accompanied by. When I am grateful, I am energized and focused.

  15. Debbie on March 14, 2016 at 11:01

    After I have asked for God to place me in his hands or those who are having life related stresses that are impossible to cope. When I have seen the awesome power of God in the life of the one whom I have prayed for. I remember them to Thank him for all that he has done. I feel a sense of re-leaf that he came as quick as he did. I know not all prayers are answers quickly and when they are I am grateful. If that are answered quickly it is because it was necessary.

  16. Winifred on March 14, 2016 at 10:32

    Gratitude is my moving meditation through nature and finding delight in the sights – grand to tiny – sounds, smells and touch, and it is the inexplicable joy in seeing my family thrive in curiosity and wonder.

  17. Mike on March 14, 2016 at 08:59

    Saying thank you to my wife for chopping the salad vegetables the way she know I like, giving words of appreciation for what someone at church is doing, looking at out the trees and sky around our house and smiling gently at the beauty all around–these are all small ways in which gratefulness shows up in my life. By the way, any of you who do not know about Bro. David Steindl-Rast’s book Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer would really enjoy this book. It’s a good read. Here’s the Amnazon link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Gratefulness-Heart-Prayer-Approach-Fullness/dp/0809126281/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457960266&sr=8-1&keywords=gratefulness+the+heart+of+prayer+an+approach+to+life+in+fullness

  18. Betty Donahue on March 14, 2016 at 08:36

    Gratitude show up in my life by how I interact with those I have unconditional love for… Jack, Aaron, Pipa and Elisa and a few others…. I say this because whenever I think of them or am near them I am fully grateful that they are in my life… they remind me that there are many things to be grateful for in my life and I need to sit and think of them as I struggle with thoughts about things I am not grateful for… dear Lord please help me always to be grateful.

  19. Bobbi on March 14, 2016 at 07:54

    “Very grateful,” were my mother’s last words thirteen days before she died at age one hundred one. Every day of her life she thanked God for her health, her family and her life. I have tried to follow her example by daily expressing these three gratitudes, and my husband and I start our day telling each other something for which we are grateful.
    (I just published a book about mom’s life of gratitude: Very Grateful: The Story of My Hundred Year Old Mother and Me.)

    • a city monk on March 14, 2016 at 10:24

      thank you…
      how wonderful… I want to spend some time with the thought of your mom’s last words in my heart….

    • Dorothy P. on March 16, 2016 at 11:03

      Bobbi, I had to look your book up on Amazon. Thank you for sharing your mom’s story, and your love of teaching in your previous books! You are an inspiration to aspiring writers like myself.

      • Bobbi on March 17, 2016 at 08:00

        Dorothy, We write when we have something to say. I encourage you to write what is in your heart. As Christians we are called to share God’s love. For some of us it is through writing.

  20. Bettie on March 14, 2016 at 07:42

    Waking in the morning with a song in my head…’morning has broken, like the first morning’. Looking out at my mountains to greet the beauty of Nature. Giving back: to the family with whom I now live, to the new friends who have embraced me, to the needs in my new community. What a gift to be alive and part of other lives!

  21. Bill Spies on March 14, 2016 at 07:39

    By not wasting the time on Earth that we are given, by putting it to use to serve others and to serve the environment.

  22. Suzanne on March 14, 2016 at 07:04

    Giving thanks in all things – the good things and the not-so-good things. The gift of gratitude flows naturally when I am my true self. From Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “Good” in this verse doesn’t mean I must be performing my best, but that I offer my best even if I am weak.

  23. Jim V on March 14, 2016 at 06:26

    Gratitude shows up as joy and love. Particularly in response to my children and hearing God’s message.
    It is not necessarily regular as a part of a rule.
    I have heard people recommend practicing gratitude, but this has not been something I have been able to sustain.

    • Jane on March 14, 2016 at 08:18

      I love that you mention your family, Jim, and I think perhaps our family and friends and colleagues and the people we meet become our trellis (or rule) to support us, and for us to support them.

  24. Ferial Etherington on March 14, 2016 at 06:01

    I’m thinking of 1 Thessalonians 5.16 [“… be thankful in all circumstances”] Not easy!

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