by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
My mother and grandmother left me their old Betty Crocker cookbook with a number of favorite recipes dog-eared and marked as particularly delicious. They even included a few handwritten cards with special recipes that had been given to them that were surefire winners. Now, I must be honest with you, I am really not a cook. While I do like cooking, many of these wonderful recipes require flour sifters, double boiler pots, and all sorts of gadgets and gizmos that were easily found in their kitchens, but not mine. But, I can still appreciate their willingness to pass them onto me, and I do treasure them. Like a wonderful recipe, however, it means nothing if you never make it.
Well, I want to share a recipe with you that is guaranteed to not only make your Thanksgiving delicious this year, but perhaps even transform your life. It was written a few years back by my good friend and columnist for The Holy Encounter magazine, Dr. Lee Jampolsky. And like those recipes passed down from my matriarchs it is guaranteed to be wonderful. It requires no special pots or pans and only has one requirement that everyone has at their fingertips (if they choose to use it) and that is their willingness. So, if you are willing, indulge with me in an extra helping of gratitude. For as A Course in Miracles reminds us,
And gratitude to God becomes the way in which He is remembered, for love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and thankful mind. ⁷God enters easily, for these are the true conditions for your homecoming. (M-23.4:6)
A Thanksgiving Recipe for Gratitude
By Lee Jampolsky, Ph.D.
I have come to see that gratitude has nothing to do with what I have accumulated, and everything to do with recognizing what I have always had, and always will. Gratitude is the most natural of states, and yet one I have often overlooked when I most needed it. Gratitude is a reflection of true humility, and yet to experience gratitude in this world definitely requires a willingness to stop thinking in ways that create a distance between you, me, other people, and the essence of love. One thing I have come to know about the recipe for gratitude is that only my mind can produce a “reason” not to be grateful, and only my mind can resolve it.
This Thanksgiving, join me in recognizing that letting go of comparisons is the way to gratitude. Let us begin our day by living in gratitude for the one force that heals all suffering, Love. When we are aware of those less fortunate than us, be grateful that we can extend compassion, kindness, and the warmth of a helpful hand to them. Or, when we see those who seem to have more than us, be happy for their good fortune rather than envious.
I have found through the years that there are two surefire ways to set my life on a disastrous course, which are to compare and then:
• Be envious of those who have good fortune.
• Ignore those less fortunate or use them to make myself feel lucky.
I have also seen that my reaction to what I see can become surefire ways to set my life on a positive course, and they are to:
• Be happy for those who have good fortune.
• Help someone who is in need of love and tenderness.
Today join me in seeing we are not limited by our physical conditions and see love in our hearts. Through love, see tenderness and kindness grow, and be grateful for who you are and your ability to share your love. Seeing ourselves as loving beings creates gratitude for each and every other living being.
Life has not always been an easy path for me, and I am sure the same is true for you. But I have come to see that my hardships can actually help me to see that gratitude and love occupy the same mind and build upon each other. Similarly, if I don’t choose otherwise, anger, jealousy, hatred, envy, and fear can also crowd my thoughts, and they, too, build upon each other. Let this day of Thanksgiving be a reminder that we have been given everything we need in order to experience peace of mind right now, that our essence is love. Today let us allow gratitude, an aspect of love, to grow naturally, and become a doorway that allows peace and abundance to enter into our life.
May we choose today
to have kindness expand
to all beings,
even those with whom we may be upset.
May we see today
that gratitude has nothing to do with what we see in our life situation,
and everything to do with what we see in our heart.
May we know today
when we withhold love
we have nothing,
and when we are kind with a grateful heart,
we have everything.
Today I see the seeds of love everywhere,
in all humanity,
and I will be kind and tender to each I meet
or comes to my mind.
I smile softly
grateful for my beautiful capacity to love.