November 4: The Practice of Gratitude

“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”  - Rumi

For several years I have had a gratitude practice. It’s one of those things that can feel obvious or trite or corny. Yet, I have found engaging in it as a regular practice changes me and changes those around me. As a spiritual practice, it forces me to notice things, moments, people, actions that I might not otherwise. It also allows me to savor tastes, smells, visual images, sounds, and touch sensations with delight and curiosity that might have blended into everyday actions. My practice of gratitude turns me towards the beauty of God’s creation in all its magnificent forms.

While I engage this practice for myself, I also employ it with the staff at our monthly meetings. We end each staff meeting with each person sharing something they are grateful for related to their work. It’s amazing how much you learn about what people are doing when they start offering gratitude to each other. I believe I learn more about what is going on by listening to them share their gratitude than I would if they each made a report.

I also conclude my Executive Director Report to the Board with my own list of gratitude. In my position, it’s easy to get lost in the finances; the numbers of guests, programs, or groups; the needs of the buildings and grounds; and a myriad of other “important” things. Offering gratitude reminds me why we are here and how many people it takes doing their part to make it possible to give people the experience of hospitality and mercy. 

Science tells us that it takes 7 positive comments to counteract one negative one. I invite you during this month where we more intentionally celebrate thankfulness to take on living into that ratio. In all likelihood, it will make you and those that are the recipients of your gratitude feel better.

I am grateful to all of you for your love and support of this sacred place that we know as Mercy by the Sea.