Gratefulness is a setting of the heart, one that I can choose like a wavelength on the radio.

-Susan Mazrolle

Some of you may be aware of (or are regularly visiting) our Practice Space where we offer a Daily Question to inspire grateful reflection. Each day we are moved by and learn from the responses that appear. The reflections are joyful, poignant, subtle, poetic, loving, generous, sophisticated, playful, vulnerable, and, of course, infused with gratefulness.

We offer the following selection of responses to one of our recent Daily Questions. May these reflections serve to open a doorway to gratefully loving the world and finding ways to live accordingly.

How do I cultivate gratefulness within myself and with others?

“As my life has slowed down
with a never-ending list of things to do,
I am learning to take my time,
and be present to both my tasks
and with other people . . .
this gives space for gratefulness to occupy.”
– sparrow

“Stop, look & go throughout my day. Gentle reminders to stop & soak up the abundance in my life. At the end of my day, I list all the things and events I am grateful for from my day; my list is long.”
– pkr

young man writing in a journal
Photo by Brad Neathery

“I restarted journaling today. I feel setting a list of things we are grateful for everyday helps us seeing how lucky we are in most aspects of our lives. We all have something to be grateful for. I try to cultivate gratefulness in others by trying hard to being my best self in all the circumstances, sharing happy and nice vibes to those around me from the security at the building to my colleagues, everyone throughout my day. The reality is bad things spread fast but so do good ones. For a long time in my life I feel that people share things with me and feel grateful to spend time with me because I always treat them with kindness.”
– Maria Martins

Stop. Look. Go. It’s a daily practice. Grounding oneself.”
– Michele

“When I lose contact with my sense of gratefulness I start to associate a thing I’m grateful for to every alphabetic letter. Sometimes I do it with my partner, I tell him what I’m grateful for or what I appreciate of him and he does the same to me.”
– Eeevvv

“Everyday I forward my daughter the Word for the Day and in the email I include a list of everything I feel grateful for that day. She then replies back with her list. I think it’s really making a difference.”
– Jay

older woman with head tilted back looking up at the sky, with the sunset in the background
Photo by Susanna Marsiglia

“In myself, it’s become a part of me, as it’s been a part of my daily practice for several years now. And I hope that my practice is a light to others to help cultivate gratefulness in them. Sometimes I help my husband remember to be grateful by helping him see a situation from another perspective.”
– sunnypatti

“By taking a moment each day to pause, take a few breaths, reflect on the love of family and friends, as well as the kindness and generosity of neighbors and strangers. I thank God for their presence in my life and say a prayer for them.”
– Martha

“Having a ‘gratitude’ section in my morning routine helps me stay centered, present and prepared throughout the day for those moments when I struggle and lose sight of what’s important and meaningful in my life. When others see me shift perspectives and benefit from getting back on a path to gratitude, I’d like to believe it inspires them to try and use gratitude for what ails them. I also am not embarrassed to point it out when I see something they are overlooking. My teenage children especially.”

“Just started an online gratitude journal! I sent my manager and supervisor a thank you note. They both said my note came right on time!”
– Tanisha

“Identify the critical nutrients and conditions, then bring it all together and repeat as often as needed when gratitude begins to wane. Also remember obtaining those nutrients and conditions may require some creativity and reaching beyond ourselves.”
– Chester

a person's hand submerged gently in flowing water
Photo by Ritvik Singh

“By first acknowledging hard feelings and then allowing them to be there. Only then can I create the conditions for gratitude to arise. I cannot force it, not within myself or with others. I practice, after working with painful feelings, by returning to my breath, thanking G-d for my true belonging and that others may experience peace too.”
– Jenn

“By letting go gratitude arises naturally like the flow of water. When water flows and is not stagnant everything is alive. Letting go and acceptance create gratitude within.”
– Antoinette

“Pause to switch off the autopilot. Look around. Take note of the surroundings. Share those observations with the people around me. And if I’m alone, thank the Divine for the beauty and love all around me.”
– Laura

“With love….self-love, deep love for those nearest my heart and love for all in between.”

Gratefulness offers a merciful path for walking through life with our eyes and hearts wide open. It supports us to attend to the potency of what is life-affirming, beautiful, and moving in our exact moments of brokenheartedness. It invites us to sit with paradox in more fully noticing the magnificence of humanity as we face the mire.

-Kristi Nelson

We offer our deepest thanks to all of you who shared your perspective on cultivating gratefulness. If you would like to add a rich practice to your life, we invite you to visit our Practice Space to join the welcoming community connecting there every day.

How do you cultivate gratefulness within yourself and with others? We invite you to share your reflections below.

Community Reflections