Build An Altar of Gratitude

623. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Each year on the day before Thanksgiving, I secretly build an altar of gratitude. Sometimes it is in a single location, a collection of cards and objects that remind me of the generosity of those who populate my life and the abundance I enjoy. Sometimes I scatter the altar across many locations. The day before this day of thanks giving, I leave tokens of appreciation and marks of gratitude all across the city. I think it is my attempt to create a sacred geography for myself; I want to see the world as a living, dynamic, holy place and since that was not my original orientation, I have to tend my vision. I cultivate a new relationship with this magic place because I want to; like working a muscle, I intend to grow strong in my reverence. I make offerings to something beyond my knowing but well recognized by my feelings. This earth is an old friend and my days here are nothing short of astonishing.

In my first systems class, the professor gave us an exercise useful for recognizing the immensity of our interdependence and, therefore, our opportunity for gratitude: imagine a goldfish in a goldfish bowl. Follow to the end the support system necessary to keep the goldfish healthy. I’ll give you a clue: you could spend days on this and never come to an end. Separations disappear. It has taken the entire planet and the history of human kind to sprinkle those few flakes of goldfish food into that bowl. Any end line you draw will be false, a construct.

And so it is with you and me. As you sit down to your traditional meal with your family and friends, take a moment and try to track the system of support necessary for you to enjoy your meal in your goldfish bowl. If you take it to heart what you find will astound you. Separations disappear and you might just find yourself in a sacred geography instead of living on the pile of rocks you thought you inhabited. Gratitude is potent thing when directed to a vibrant living relationship and not merely a world of consumables. The real question of this day is this: to what do we give our thanks?

5 Responses

  1. This post is BEAUTIFUL enough to stand alone…that is all…p.s. have an amazing day of THANKS GIVING.

  2. In this issue of Yes!: ‘If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.’ Something to ponder this winter.

  3. […] not sure why but, initially, I numbered rather than named my blogposts. My 623rd blog post was about a practice I’d all but forgotten. Building an altar of […]

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