Only if we become calm as earth, fluid as water, and blazing as fire
will we be able to rise to the task of peacemaking.

Br. David Steindl-Rast

Grateful living invites us to show up for a peaceful and sustainable future. In this way of life, every thought and action we take matters. We co-create our present and future in each moment, whether it is a warm response to a stranger seeking directions, the consciousness we bring to the purchases we make, or a lifelong involvement in improving life for others.

Living in greater alignment with our most deeply held values supports our path of co-creation. And intentionality supports us in tending to that which we value most deeply, emboldening us to actively proclaim that which we care about and take a stand for it. We can make these declarations privately or publicly. Becoming truly intentional about something allows us to lean in when we find ourselves presented with challenging choices or called upon to show up with great fullness of heart.

It is within my own heart that I must recognize fear, agitation, coldness, alienation, blind anger and the impulse to retaliation. Here in my heart I can turn fear into courageous trust, agitation into stillness, confusion into clarity, isolation into a sense of belonging, alienation into love, and irrational reaction into Common Sense. The creative intelligence of gratefulness will suggest to each one of us how to go about this task.

Br. David Steindl-Rast

The Practice

We recommend you bookmark this page and move through the practice days at your own pace. You might move through the practice alone or consider exploring it with others, as part of a group experience.

Day 1. Live Gratefully
In thanksgiving for life, I pledge to overcome the illusion of ENTITLEMENT by reminding myself that everything is gift and, thus, to live GRATEFULLY.

Day 2. Share Generously
In thanksgiving for life, I pledge to overcome my GREED, that confuses wants with needs, by trusting that enough for all our needs is given to us and to share GENEROUSLY what I so generously receive.

Day 3. Respond Creatively
In thanksgiving for life, I pledge to overcome APATHY by waking up to the opportunities that a given moment offers me and so to respond CREATIVELY to every situation.

Day 4. Act Non-Violently
In thanksgiving for life, I pledge to overcome VIOLENCE, all of which is rooted in fear, by observing that fighting violence by violence leads to more violence and death and, thus, to foster life by acting NON-VIOLENTLY.

Day 5. Trust in Life
In thanksgiving for life, I pledge to overcome FEAR by seeing in what I might otherwise fear, the opportunity to cultivate courageous TRUST IN LIFE and so to lay the foundation for a peaceful future.

We hope the Thanksgiving for Life practice emboldens your commitment to overcome greed, violence, apathy, fear and the illusion of entitlement.

Feel moved to support future practices?
We warmly welcome contributions!


Feature photo by Layne Lawson


Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

About the author

Brother David Steindl-Rast — author, scholar, and Benedictine monk — is beloved the world over for his enduring message about gratefulness as the true source of lasting happiness. Known to many as the “grandfather of gratitude,” Br. David has been a source of inspiration and spiritual friendship to countless leaders and luminaries around the world including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, and more. He has been one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, and has taught with thought-leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, and Roshi Joan Halifax. His wisdom has been featured in recent interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Krista Tippett, and Tami Simon and his TED talk has been viewed almost 10,000,000 times. Learn more about Br. David here.