I am Canadian (no, not the beer; the country). Part of our culture is being unapologetically apologetic. We are bred to say, “I’m sorry” even when it not our fault.
Not to brag or anything (because bragging isn’t Canadian either), but I am the queen of apologising. The debit machine is slow, I apologise to the cashier for holding her up. Someone holds the door for me, I say sorry. See those “very Canadian car accident videos”? They are all true: we constantly apologise to each other while taking down each other’s information.
Early on in my therapy sessions, my therapist pointed that I apologised far more than the average Canadian. “It’s as if you are constantly apologising for taking up the space around you. What if, instead, you replaced “sorry” for “thank you?”
Huh. Interesting. So I tried it.
I said, “Thank you” to the person holding the door, “Thank you for your patience” to the clerk who I felt I was holding up. “Thank you” to the sweet soul that helped me pick up my belongings when I stumbled. And I began to notice a change. Not only did a confidence grow in me, but people responded different to me: eye contact, smiling, even breaking out in kind conversation. A genuine human side seemed to come out.
And then a pattern emerged in my life.
In my early days of learning my path and practise, intention was always front and centre. Regardless of the ritual, or ceremony, the mental fortitude put forward was paramount: INTENT. Given my apologetic nature, and my naive, new Pagan self, I tended to over-analysis my intent for everything. I wanted everything to be perfect. Until I had a wise friend say, “You know you can’t do anything wrong? Nothing is ever perfect. It’s all about intent. It’s all about what you put in.”
“But I don’t even know what my intent is! I am just so freaking thankful for all of it! I’m stuck.”
“Then that’s your intent. Gratitude. In everything you do, make it about saying, “Thank you”. In that, you will find joy.”
In that moment, in that simple statement, my perception changed. I need to find gratitude. I need to be thankful. I need to say “thank you” in everything I do. It sounded extreme initially, but once I shifted my perspective, my world changed.
I started small, beginning with my rituals. In collecting my offerings, I silently gave thanks to the plants I collected from, the food I cooked, the booze or honey I poured as offerings. In those moments, I began taking stalk. I began thinking about the bees that made the honey, the essence release when I cut the herbs, the science behind the fermentation of the alcohol. I subtly found myself, in the intention of gratitude, more present, more centred, more grounded.
I went with it, and allowed gratitude to shape me. The gratitude shifted, and turned to joy. A rainy day became thrilling for me, as I was able to appreciate the sheer volume of water pouring from the open clouds. I mesmerized as I could see parched, yellow grass slowly become lush green. My rituals were more meaningful, as the gratitude, and joy allowed me to really see all the magic around me. My connections to the energies; my ancestors began blossoming, and rooted more deeply, in a meaningful way. It truly shaped, and molded how I see the world today.
Don’t get me wrong: my life has certainly not been unicorn sprinkles, and rainbow farts by any stretch of the imagination. It has, however, given me the ability to draw strength in deep, dark times in order to see the light at the proverbial tunnel. Living in state of gratitude has allowed me to find that fucking pot of gold, when emotional bankruptcy seems like the only option. Gratitude is the reason why I am alive, sharing with you. Although I will always honour my Canadian roots, and probably always apologise unapologetically, I am fucking grateful.
What are some ways that you could incorporate more gratitude in your life? Can you find ways to bring gratitude into your daily practise? I want to hear about it! Comment below!