They say practising gratitude is one good way to increase one's happiness. I get it. You are grateful for the things you have today, and you don't postpone your happiness for what you don't have yet. That leads to contentment and satisfaction. But I always wondered if gratitude is some devious ploy to get people to stay in their lot, and discourage them to not be ambitious and overreach. In short, gratitude seems to pair with scarcity, to entrench the poor in their poverty. Really?
But reading this August 15 entry yesterday on The Artist's Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living about how gratitude works with and amplifies abundance, intrigued me deeply:
There seems to be an unwritten spiritual law that if we want our good to increase, we must focus on appreciating and husbanding the good that we already experience. This can be done by writing gratitude lists enumerating the many things in our current life that are fruitful and rewarding. On a concrete level, it can be done by the careful husbanding of what we have. This means that buttons get sewn on, hems get tacked up, smudges get scrubbed off doorjambs. We make the very best of exactly what we have and we find that almost behind our back the Great Creator redoubles and reinforces our efforts and makes something even better. This is where the old adage "God helps those who help themselves" can be tested and found to be true.
Maybe it works like this: you take care of the things you own. They last longer, you consume less, you save more. Thus, monetary abundance. Because you care about things lasting, so when you do buy stuff, you buy quality instead of something that is fashionable, cheap, and disposable. You enjoy using them because it's high-end and high quality, and this enjoyment endures because it lasts. Thus, abundance of joy. Because you care about quality stuff that most people don't care for, and you like using what you have, you're not having to follow the herd and chase after ephemeral fads. You get indistractable, you keep your attention on other stuff that matters. Thus, abundance of peace of mind.
From an abundance in money, joy and mind, you then go on to attract more abundance. You have the presence of mind to spot new and good stuff or opportunities. You have the money to invest in them. You imbue them with joy when using them. Such a virtuous cycle of positive moods surely are an attractor for more good, isn't it?
I also love how here the author shows how gratitude is concretely practised by "careful husbanding of what we have" - repairing, restoring and renewing old stuff. In a throw-away culture like ours today, there's no need for husbanding. And hence, we lose touch with the very artefacts that can feed our gratitude and thus our abundance. No wonder we are so unhappy, even when we can consume so much. It's ironic, that in our seeming abundance as shown by throw-away culture, we are really alienating ourselves from the true sources of abundance, in wealth, joy, and peace of mind.
Above all, I love how the author chose to use the word "husband" as a word to mean taking care of the good we have. I play the role of a husband in a matrimonial sense, but to expand it to this greater role, is refreshing and awe-inspiring.
I husband, therefore I am.