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life lessons Books

Thoughts on Thankfulness.

The pandemic has changed a lot, namely, me. Two days ago I went to sleep thinking how lucky I was to cook dinner every night for my family. Prior to 2020 it was a task I complained about a lot. Now it seems this chore has turned into something I feel privileged to do. That’s the thing about thankfulness, it turns inconvenience into honour. And so to celebrate thankfulness, I thought I’d share  6 of my most favourite quotes about thankfulness. I hope these words inspire you to see what you have and say thank you to those you really appreciate. 

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.

Albert Schweitzer.

I wanted to share this quote first because most of us can relate to having been stuck in a place where our inner light, our spark, our zest for living has seemingly vanished. Certain ones, friends, family maybe, nurtured us, sat with us in the pit of our despair, tried to understand and did not judge our pain as merely melancholy. They stood when many sat down on their hands and did nothing. They validated our hurt and told us we weren’t crazy for feeling. They passed on light and rekindled our own. I am thankful for the ones who remained when my flame was snatched, and sat with me  among cooling coals until I saw the value of ashes and my sparked again.

Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.

Marcus Aurelius

Wise words if there were any! Think of one thing you have. Think of what it would be like not to have it. Many of us immediately feel a sense of reverence, humility even and can do nothing more but whisper or shout a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to the sky. When I am awake to the beauty and abundance around me, wanting turns to thanking every time. This is how I feel when I’m near the ocean. Its expanse somehow makes me see how privileged I am to be alive, to be here.

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

 L. M. Montgomery

Beautiful words from an illustrious writer. This quote makes me breathe deeply and exhale with a dreamy sign. The natural world is so beautiful and being thankful for the wonder and awe of seasons, landscapes, seaways, and all the weird and wild expressions of nature, makes life so much more enjoyable. Not only does thankfulness for the earth make life more pleasant, it also compels us to want to care and preserve the part of the world in which we live. Our native flora and fauna need us to care and care is created through thankfulness.

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.

William Blake

A poet never lies and William Blake is no exception. A grateful heart knows no poverty. Thankfulness allows us to see what we receive as a harvest. There are no small wins, no tiny miracles, no little offerings. There is only ever a reaping. Imagine if everyone on earth had the perception that there was no such thing as a morsel; there was only plenty. Greed would not exist and every heart would be joyous. 

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

Thomas Goodwin

In this quote, Goodwin states that when we receive things that are ‘won with prayer’ meaning what we can not gain by our good efforts or buy for ourselves, it is as sweet as anything received with thankfulness. Being grateful brings a kind of relief, an ease, a sense of peace. Most of the time, when I think I need more things, really all I need is more thankfulness.

Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.

Harry A. Ironside

Thankful people are happy people. They are resourceful, hopeful and creative. I  love this quote because it doesn’t just talk of the disease, it also offers the cure. If you are discontent, thankfulness is your ‘get out of jail free card’. Start with being truly attentive to all the ways goodness turns up in your life, be thankful and watch disgruntlement slip out the side door of your soul. 

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Books life lessons

Inspirational John O’Donohue quotes.

I received ‘Walking in Wonder’ by John O’Donohue for my birthday. Krista Tippett proclaims in the foreword, ‘This book that you now hold in your hands is a treasure.’ and I concur. Reading this book felt like finding a fifty dollar bill in the pocket of an old coat; unexpected delight followed by a lucky feeling.

The book is split into 9 Chapters. Each chapter is filled with deep thought, quotes from John’s teachers and conrads, and poetry, delicious John O’Donohue poetry that is seasoned with wisdom like a salty Michelin star tenderloin. Let me share some of John’s inspired words from this work with you.

You can actually go back into yourself to great things that have happened to you and enjoy them and allow them to shelter and bless you again… it’s sad when people don’t use their good memories and revisit again and again the harvest of memory that is within them and live out of the riches of that harvest rather than the poverty of woundedness.

John O’Donohue.

Instead of recalling past moments that were truly sublime, I am often sidetracked by disappointments. And so, after reading the above quote, I indulged myself. I closed my eyes, tilted my head back and remembered. And guess what happened? Joy and amazement right there in my living room. I found a pen and started writing my memories down. I could not help but say aloud to myself, ‘Wait, did that really happen?’ ‘I never dreamt that I would be there, doing that, with them.’

It is true and undeniably beautiful how good memories can make one feel like the richest person alive.

I think that we are infinitely greater than our minds and we are infinitely more than our images of ourselves.

John O’Donohue

Greater than our minds? More than our images of ourselves? Of course we are. There is so much we do not know about everything, so how can it be that we know everything about ourselves. I have a feeling that the purpose of ageing is to uncover more of who we are, to do what we as youths were frightened to dream, to dare to go beyond the images of ourselves that keep us from being fully alive.

The duty of privilege is absolute integrity.

John O’Donohue

I’ve got to tell you, this one stung.  It is my understanding that John is trying to tell his reader that to be true is the responsibility of the free, to waste  liberties on lies and falsities is a great error. Be it pretentious, light-weight living or the martyrdom of people pleasing, the privileged should have no higher goal than authentic living. John’s words encourage me to live deeply.  May we not be wasteful by following misleading voices and misdirected versions of ourselves.

Without integrity there can be no true integration.

John O’Donohue

Again John reminds his readers of the power and necessity of integrity. We can find no real connection without turning up for ourselves and as ourselves. He illustrates how false image stifles relationships and how deep connection with others is dependent on deep connection with ourselves. 

When who we are and who we like to be are the same person, this is the point of great discovery; the place where we can unveil truth after truth after truth.

Time is always full of possibility. It would be a great gift that an old person could give themselves, The gift of recognising the possibilities that are in that time and use their imagination.

John O’Donohue

John teachers ‘old age is a time of great freedom’. Not only do we gain more time for ourselves as we age but we also are freed from many of the concerns we may have had about our lives. The years teach us to let go. 

I like this thought. Ageing isn’t a shame, it’s a glory. The later years are not a time to stop dreaming, but rather a time to revel in the possibilities that have not been available till now. May we rid our minds of the notion that old age is wonderless, profitless, or to be scorned.

If you want to read “Walking in wonder’ you can pick up a copy here. Also Krista Tippett hosts an excellent podcast called ‘on being’ her conversation with John can be found here

Here’s to reading that replenishes.