Monday 9 January 2012

Occupy Gratitude

On the last live episode of Q for 2011 they were discussing the idea that having an 'attitude of gratitude' is good for your health. It always seems that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the times of year when we think about what we are thankful for. Most people would agree that we should focus on this more during the whole year, and yet most of us do not.

There are various levels of gratitude... Some of us are grateful simply to be alive. Either because we know we beat out millions of other in that first big race to the egg or maybe we've had a near-death experience. Most Canadians will tell you they are very grateful to be a citizen of Canada. (The health care thing if nothing else.) Maybe you're thankful for your family or the house you live in or your cat.

Humans are naturally selfish and this often causes us to want more. There is no end to our greed. There is always a little something more that we reach for. Sometimes I get frustrated with my job but I try to remember that so many people can't find work and that makes me a bit more grateful and it helps to lessen the negativity of the situation.

Quite often, our gratitude is based on our perception in relation to those around us. 'That guy has a much nicer car than I do but at least I don't live in a crappy apartment like that other guy.' 'Bill Gates has bit more money than I do but at least I'm not a starving orphan in a war-torn country.' Our scale of wealth can be so easily warped.

This brings me to the 99%. The Occupy Movement. Yes, protesting unfair taxes and corporate greed is a noble cause. But in that moment, be grateful that your government is not sending their army to oppress and slaughter you. And if you widen the scope... us bottom 99% in North America and much of Europe end up at the top of the heap globally. I would imagine that many of the occupiers had more with them in those tents than a lot of the world will have in their lifetime.

I'm not presenting hard facts and stats here. I'm not telling anyone that what they are doing is wrong or right. I would just like to offer up a reminder to keep things in perspective. Poor people give far more of themselves because they know what it's like to want for basic needs to be met.

So, yes, fight for what you believe in! Stand up for change. Maybe you'll start a revolution!

Just make sure to take a moment to be grateful for that sandwich you had at lunch or the cup of tea that's warming your hands. Be thankful for the people and events in your life that gave you the fire that spurs you on to fight for an important cause.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Do you think I'm way off base? Am I on to something? Does it even matter?


  1. Wish it had a "like" button.

    1. I'm looking into that... I know it can be done. I'm quite sure my code monkey hubby can help. :)

  2. Love this post! I think that gratitude is hugely important, especially when it comes to the little things. It's easy to remember to be grateful for family or good health. I try to remind myself to also be grateful for things like peanut butter and fuzzy socks and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    1. Yes, Joss Whedon is someone to be thankful for. And socks! Don't even get me started...

      Also squirrels. I'm am very thankful for squirrels.

    2. Squirrels are creepy. I'm thankful that I've never been attacked by a squirrel.