A Gratitude Awakening – The Power of Presence, Participation and Partnership
“Gratitude is social….It is about presence, participation and partnership. It is about being with one another, in life together. It is the thread of nature and neighbor, the seemingly fragile strands of gifts and goodness that weave our lives together.”
~ Diana Butler Bass, from Grateful – The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
In 2003 my husband broke his back just before we moved to a first floor apartment from a second floor one. In one weekend our friends moved everything, furniture as well as stuff accumulated over the years. There was a lot of stuff and it couldn’t wait. Though he hadn’t lost use of his legs there was no way he could climb the stairs to the apartment only a week after the accident. There was no way I could have done it alone. I am so grateful to everyone who helped us.
Like the quote by Diana Butler Bass states, gratitude is social. We’re in this together. We don’t do this thing called life alone. And during that time in 2003, I discovered the power of community in a way I had never before experienced. It awakened in me a sense of gratitude that continues to help me weave my life with others.
Before that experience, gratitude was a more fleeting experience, a nice feeling that came and went. Afterwards, I carried the joy of it with me. It deepened my sense of belonging and lifted me out of myself. It would be years before I fully understood what was transforming within me.
I want to be of service and feel that service is a way we can bring gratitude into the communal sphere. After my husband had another health crisis, I began my spiritual quest in earnest again. Our spiritual community was spread far and wide, so I joined one closer to home and that brought me to a way of being of service in a larger way. The Science of Mind Philosophy resonated and had many ideas in common with my pagan and magical practices. I found a supportive community and eventually become a licensed practitioner in the philosophy.
Through this new community I have experienced love and acceptance and feel in the flow of gratitude the more involved I become. Without this community or the other ones in my life, without the people closest to me and neighbors, I wouldn’t have come to know what gratitude really is. It is social by nature. It connects us and by connecting we feel even more gratitude. It truly is about presence, participation and partnership. When we connect fear falls away. We feel the support of the Universe itself when we are there for one another.
If we look closely at nature we see how all things are interconnected and interdependent. The choice to view it as only survival of the fittest is unsettling. As a culture we seem to forget that we are a part of nature. We are not rugged individuals blazing a trail through life. Nature holds us close. We are not alone in a cold, dark world. We are multitudes moving as one, crossing the vastness of this beautiful world held in the warmth of love. And for this, I am grateful.