The gratefulness conference

The Gratefulness conference held last Saturday at the Palace of Legion of Honor was SO inspiring. I recommend everyone to visit gratefulness.org and sign up immediately to become an active part of the gratitude movement.

From listening to the various speakers, I came to realize that gratefulness is a very full and deep practice that can be at the center of our everyday lives. It’s more than saying ‘thank you’ for the gifts in your life. It’s a way of being in our daily lives. Even in a difficult situation, one can be grateful for the opportunity that the situation presents. Does the situation¬† call on you to become more forgiving, compassionate, and accepting of yourself, others, and the human condition?

One thing that Brother Steindl-Rast, the Christian monk who was the inspiration for the conference, mentioned that I found really important was learning to be content with the vessel of our lives, instead of always wanting more. If we fully inhabit and appreciate our lives, then our vessel will naturally overflow. If we are really present in our lives, allowing what we have to fill us, then there will be a cyclical relationship between gratefulness and thankfulness. “What we already have will give us so much enjoyment that we won’t want more,” he said.

Some other key thoughts from the conference:

  • we have a choice of being in a state of gratitude
  • our whole life is a way to practice gratitude
  • gratitude is a discipline and it takes courage to live
  • instead of focusing on what you are getting in work, turn the focus to what you are becoming as a result of your work
  • being grateful for the opportunity to grow in any situation