Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
-Henry Van Dyke
Growing up in a Catholic household, dinners were always preluded with GRACE. We would join hands and either share in unison a generic preordained prayer or a single member would give thanks on behalf of us all. With this pause, we took a moment to be great-FULL for the food before us and the hands that prepared it. A beautiful ritual really apart from one wildly apparent shortcoming- it lacked that personal touch. We were either dependent on the appointed head of house to speak on behalf of us all or we spewed the same words that had been force fed to Catholic children everywhere since the dawn of time. Regard-less, it was not the voice of the individual that mattered at this time. It was one voice dragging along the others. Of course, we were meant to be saying our own separate prayers ‘in our head‘ but we were not encouraged or given the space to offer our individual thanksgivings aloud.
Last winter, while living in Mexico, a beautiful adopted family was formed. Its members, from various parts of North America, having escaped the chills of home, all had much to be thankful for. It was through this family that I learnt and put into practice the ‘Gratitude Circle’. This soul enriching ritual takes only a moment and gives each attendee the opportunity to express their individual grace.
Join hands if you like, don’t if you prefer. Each person takes a turn to express something they are thankful for at that time. It can be simple or complex. It doesn’t matter what you choose. There are no rules. The point is that it’s yours and you get to share it with the same people you have chosen to share your meal with.
When I got home, I brought the Gratitude Circle with me and continue to practice it at every opportunity. Even when I dine alone, I take a moment to voice what it is I am thankful for that day. I love it.
Today, I am thankful for Joyus, who shared the Gratitude Circle with myself and the rest of the family, putting it into our daily practice.
From my heart to yours, Jenn