Counting Our Blessings: The Mood of Gratitude

gratitudeEver since I was a little girl studying ancient cultures in grade school, I have been passionate about Machu Picchu, the sacred city of the ancient Inca civilization. I recently had the good fortune to travel to Peru, and I finally got to make my very own pilgrimage to Machu Picchu. It was indeed a sacred place. I found it indescribably beautiful, and the pictures I took do not do it justice. I found myself weeping at the breathtaking magnificence of it all and experiencing an overwhelming sense of Gratitude.

I also experienced the mood of Gratitude when I traveled to the city of Cuzco, Peru, where the citizens are rich in history, cultural tradition, and stunning scenery, but most of them are certainly not rich in much else. I met many people living extremely simple lives, often growing all of their own food, living in small houses built with their own hands, and sending their children off each day to walk an hour and a half to and from school.

I suddenly became very aware of what Gratitude really means to me: I felt Gratitude when I had the experience that my life could be very different than it is.

In the field of Ontological Design, we often break down language to learn what is really going on when we say, for example, that we are feeling “grateful.” Here is an ontological reconstruction of the mood we call Gratitude:

  1. I observe that some thing (x) has happened, which I may or may not have expected.
  2. I declare that I like (x) a great deal.
  3. I assess that (x) greatly benefits me or opens up future possibilities for me.
  4. I assess that I did not earn (x) all on my own and that (x) exceeds the basic standards in our society.
  5. I declare that (x) is a blessing in my life and that I am grateful.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find that I moan and groan about all of the things that aren’t working in my life and forget to count my blessings. It is easy for me to feel gratitude from a sacred, gorgeous mountaintop like Machu Picchu, or when interacting with those less fortunate than I am in Cuzco, but it can be more difficult in my daily life at home. I am committed to beginning a new practice of naming the things I am grateful for each day. I know what a powerful mood shifter this can be!

So what about you? What are you grateful for you in your life? I challenge you to pause today to count your blessings.