Gratitude….It is that time of year when our thoughts turn to the people and things in our lives that are most precious. We realize how very important yet fragile are our relationships, both family and friends. We think about what we have and even if we are facing challenges we’re somehow making it through. Gratitude. It is what humbles us and softens our hearts.

I talk a lot about co creation and Living Miraculously and surely gratitude is a most important and essential piece of this way of living. Have you ever felt so overcome with gratitude that you thought your heart would burst open,cascading in a shower of love? Stop..for a moment …and think about a time when you felt such deep emotion. Notice how you feel now just recalling that memory. When you are in real gratitude you are somehow more alive and joyful. You feel blessed and you bless others.

You express gratitude for the miracle of your life which you have co created and you know that each and every experience holds another clue to the “why” of your existence

I sometimes joke at my workshops “take my advice, I’m not using it.” Not this time. If you’ve followed any of my writings, you may know that this year my focus has been on “A year of Living Miraculously.” It may seem ironic that this year has also been the most personally challenging on all levels; physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. I’ve been on the “brink of madness” more than once. What has saved me and what has also attracted more of the miraculous into my life? You guessed it, “gratitude.” It is THE magical and miraculous elixir that can transform your life challenges into life enhancing and enlightening experiences.

Yes dear ones, I’m aware that there are some challenges which appear so devastating that the idea of gratitude is nothing less than appalling. It may be difficult, it may feel impossible, yet every experience holds within it a sacred gift.

Recognizing the power of gratitude is apparently something that interests not just the spiritual and metaphysical community, but scientists as well.There are a number of scientific studies that actually quantify what happens when people are grateful. The following research studies may surprise you or just confirm what you already know to be true about the miraculous power of gratitude.

According to HeartMath ( the emotion of gratitude releases chemicals in the brain and builds etheric receptors which opens you up to receive a greater amount of the God force.

And the following Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, University of California, Davis reinforces the positive emotional and physical effects of being in a state of gratefulness.

Well-Being: Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.

In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.

And just because you know I love quotes so much….following are some that will raise your gratitude meter a notch or two.

From Melody Beattie: Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

From Marta Davidovich Ockuly: “No matter how bad things look, you are always being blessed. Ask yourself, ‘what is the blessing here?’ and express gratitude for the awareness that comes to you.”

Just to inject a bit of humor…..
From Kevin James: “Thanksgiving, man! Not a good day to be my pants.”

From Jon Stewart, who you wouldn’t expect anything less than twisted….
“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”

So Here’s Your Assignment.

You want to feel more gratitude, right? Ok then….get out pen and paper. List everything that’s happening in your life right now and all the people that you have a connection to on one side of the paper. On the other side write at least one thing that you are grateful for as a result of this experience or person. Yes, of course you can start with the obvious and easy ones. But, you gotta do the tough ones too! (They’re the most enlightening!) Keep at it and you’ll figure out how to “flip the switch” on your challenges. You’ll be so “grateful” you did….and you can thank me later.

In Gratitude and Grace and with Abundant Blessings,