We live in a world that is saturated with the idea that if only we could ‘get more’ we would be satisfied. But we never are. It seems the more we buy, consume, the more we want. Mick Jagger was right, ‘We can’t get no satisfaction.’
How do we fight this insipid (can’t get enough) disease that threatens to consume us from the inside out (and the outside in if you think of the cost to the oceans and the vulnerable folks on our planet, oh and the animals stuck in a disgustingly greedy food industry and I could go on…) ??
The answer is so simple it almost seems trite. It’s gratitude. Gratitude, can literally cultivate the opposite spirit of ‘lack’ that is perpetuated by our current culture with something that can truly satisfy our deepest selves. With ‘enough’ – actually, it can even do more than that – it can open the door to the ‘more than enough’ abundant life that we actually crave – on the deepest level.
St. Ignatius understood this in his generation when he was battling a similar spirit of greed and lust for more stuff and greater glory so he suggested that gratitude was the chief of all virtues. Gratitude, said the Saint, is how we enter the door of blessing. It turns out that thanksgiving is not just a dinner with your family where you eat too much food and add brown sugar to everything! It’s a doorway to satisfaction in your everyday life.
First, it recognizes God as creator and source of all life. That recognition opens us up to realize that every single good thing in our lives is a gift. This perspective moves us from wanting more stuff to counting our blessings. And how many of those do most of us have? Wowzers. As you begin this process you start shifting your posture from ‘can’t get enough’ to ‘can’t fit anymore’. Already the weapon is fighting the hoards of greed battling for your mindset.
After that door is opened, you walk into an increasingly spacious expanse. You realize that the physical realm is but one among many. Think about that moment in school when you realized the stars you could see weren’t the end of the world but the beginning of a galaxy. It’s literally mind-blowing when you enter the gratitude door how big your life becomes. Far from the shallow feeling you get when you go from shop to shop trying to fill your ‘empty’, gratitude spills to overflow out of your soul and expands your world.
Danielle Strickland is an Author, International Speaker, Justice Mobilizer and longs to see the world transformed.