Gratitude is a sense of deep thankfulness for the things in your life. These things may be physical (like the daring red dress in my closet I rarely wear but makes me grin with foolish pleasure every time I see it), or nonphysical (like the love of family and friends).
Gratitude is a voluntary feeling that is simultaneously grounding and opening. It never makes us feel beholden, for gratitude opens us to the light vibration of love.
Sometimes we hurt ourselves and our sense of worth by using the word gratitude as a weapon with each other:
"You should be grateful for what you have!"
"You ungrateful wretch!"
While the intention may be to remind ourselves of the great abundance around us, a true sense of gratitude can not be forced. It is something our heart must open to. We can open to it quite naturally when we slow down, breathe, meditate, and reflect on our lives, including where we may feel fear or pain. When we connect with gratitude, our fear disappears because we feel the fullness of our own heart. We know on a deeply intuitive level that we will continue to be filled, because that abundance has always been there.
You don't have to be grateful! Did you know that? It's okay to throw up your hands in frustration and Ask for more (aha, see last week's post!). It is good to be honest about your feelings, and honor that they are here to show you where you are and where you may want to go. Once you're done railing against the universe, sit and breathe. See if the lotus of your heart can open in gratitude for even just one thing.
Gratitude is a gift that does keep giving. As Cheryl Richardson says, "A grateful heart is like a magnet drawing toward it a wealth of abundance."
In fact we are always drawing toward our hearts abundance (we are swimming in abundance)-- but the grateful heart is able to open, and thus receive it.