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Gratitude as a Living Thing

The holiday season is here as I write this, although it looks very different from previous years. As we know, the holidays are frequently accompanied by additional stress, which is exacerbated this year by the unprecedented events and shifts of 2020. Many years ago, as an antidote to holiday stress, I began a regular practice of reflecting and meditating on the nature of Gratitude. This simple practice always helps me to ground and center when holiday obligations feel overwhelming, as it reminds me of Gratitude’s place in my life. And even though I am feeling less celebratory this year, I continue to contemplate the essence of Gratitude – in meditation, daily life, and my Reiki practice. After all, Reiki and Gratitude are natural partners.

When I feel the divine energy of Reiki flowing through me, how can I be anything but grateful?

Yet, we all know this year is different. My sense of Gratitude is tinged with sadness and grief for all that was lost these past months. I recognized and acknowledged this odd juxtaposition of conflicting emotions a few weeks ago as I went about my daily tasks or sat quietly in meditation. And I became aware of a persistent feeling that Gratitude itself, its essence, was pushing its way into my waking consciousness, accompanied by warm, comforting feelings of thankfulness. Of course, a large part of that was an appreciation for the obvious blessings – family, a warm home, and plentiful food, which are too often taken for granted, especially in these times of significant change and shifts when so many are lacking basic human needs.

However, even as I noted the presence of thankfulness, I was aware of Gratitude’s energy, its signature, steadily radiating from the core of my being, for no discernible reason. The radiant feeling grew and expanded as I tended to my responsibilities or sat in meditation. What was causing this feeling? Why was Gratitude so persistent and consistent? What was it telling me? The answers remained elusive, so I simply enjoyed (and was grateful for) the pure feelings of thankfulness and comfort that flowed through me as they washed away stress and heartache.

Gratitude as a Living Thing

And then, a few days later, the answer arrived in meditation: Gratitude in its purest form is a living thing, an entity, and when nurtured and cultivated, it flourishes and thrives on its own. In its essence, Gratitude requires no reason for being; it just is. For it to come alive within us, however, requires a nurturing and supportive environment. Gratitude has many manifestations and interpretations. It is present in a simple, heartfelt thank-you, the soul-stirring sense of humility and oneness, and in every aspect of daily life, if we are open to experiencing it.

What does this mean for us? When we create an accepting and nurturing environment for Gratitude, it takes up permanent residence within us. In other words, when we make a home for Gratitude, Gratitude makes a home in us. The relationship becomes truly symbiotic, one in which we live in Gratitude, and Gratitude lives in us. As we do so, it enriches our lives beyond measure and reminds us of life’s sweetness and joys, even amid the inevitable difficulties and sorrows.

In truth, I am grateful for all the opportunities, lessons, blessings, challenges, and obstacles I have encountered. Yes, I even feel Gratitude for those events construed as negative because within them lie the most significant potential for spiritual growth. As I reflect upon my life so far, I realize that the darkest days ultimately led to the brightest tomorrows. What a liberating insight! When it finally sank in, that new perspective changed everything for me and re-shaped my view of life and the human experience. And, at the core of this perspective is, of course, Gratitude. It is a fundamental component of my authentic self and is a guiding light during the darkest days.

So, this is what I learned: Be grateful. Practice Gratitude, and allow its beauty to dwell within you. When we welcome Gratitude, we welcome the happiness that is our birthright.

“In daily life, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
Brother David Steindl-Rast

Article by Kathleen Johnson

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Kathleen Johnson
Kathleen Johnson

Kathleen Johnson is a Usui/Holy Fire III Reiki Master, a Kundalini Reiki Master, and a Certified Crystal Healer. As a Spiritual Teacher & Mentor, she assists others in discovering their unique path to wellness, wholeness, and authenticity. Kathleen is also a Certified Past-Life Soul Regression Therapist, and infuses Reiki into her work with clients’ past lives.
She is the Founder of UniverSoul Heart, LLC, a holistic healing and wellness practice based in Pennsylvania, USA. Kathleen enjoys teaching all levels of Reiki classes, from Level I through Master/Teacher, and is honored to assist others on the Reiki path. She also offers “Crystal Basics” and “Finding Your Life Mission” workshops for those wishing to deepen and enrich their self-knowledge at the soul level.
Kathleen was a co-host and presenter at the Reiki Rays Spring 2018 Summit, and also presented at the Winter 2018 and Spring 2019 Summits. She is passionate about raising awareness of the benefits of Reiki and holistic wellness and enjoys speaking to public and private groups.
As part of her commitment to raising awareness, Kathleen has been a featured guest in many radio interviews and is the host of "UniverSoul Heart Radio with Kathleen Johnson- Sensible Spirituality for Everyday Living", broadcast on Transformation Talk Radio.
Kathleen was selected as Top Reiki Master of the Year for 2019 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for her outstanding leadership, commitment, and dedication.
Writing is a passion for Kathleen, and her many articles about Reiki and Spirituality are published on Reiki Rays and in Reiki News Magazine. She is currently gathering information for a book and knows that Reiki will be with her every step of the way.
Kathleen’s website is www.universoulheart.net, and her email is kjohnson@universoulheart.net

You can find her on Facebook at UniverSoulHeartReiki, on Instagram @universoulheartreiki and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/universoulheart/

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