Talk of gratitude abounds this time of year. Fall is the harvest season and in the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving. Before we settle in for the winter we take time to be thankful for what we have and all that happened through the year.
Gratitude is sometimes associated with feelings of obligation, but I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about what Diana Butler Bass, in Grateful – The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks calls gift-and-response gratitude. It’s a feeling that naturally arises when we fully receive. We then naturally want to give back by showing our gratitude and sometimes doing more. There is no sense of obligation.
Here is the way I view gift-and-response gratitude followed by the ways it can help make you a better writer.
This is to trust fully in the gifts we are given so we can share them freely. When we share our writing we are gifting others. In turn they give back to us in appreciation and by buying our work.
True feelings of gratitude open you up so you can be filled up. A writer who is closed off emotionally will be closed off creatively.
Writers are observers of both the external and internal world. When we pay attention to all aspects of our lives we fall into gratitude more easily. A focus on gratitude is a focus on life itself. And this is necessary for a writer.
To be in gratitude allows us to transcend our circumstances. When things aren’t going well, we can tap into the well of gratitude and discover the wisdom and strength to carry on with our work.
I’m grateful for the community of writers. When we understand we’re here to help one another and not compete with one another, more opportunities open up for us.
I mention trust above under grace. Grace is to trust in life itself. The more we practice gratitude the greater our trust will be. When we feel safe and secure, the writing flows more easily because we can focus better.
Not only is it important to feel a sense of belonging with other writers, it’s helpful to feel a sense of belonging in the world at large. A sense of oneness with all life helps us feel safe as well as open to all possibility, a flow of ideas and greater creativity.
Because we trust and feel more secure as we practice gratitude, we are more likely to live fully and therefore have a greater potential to realize our dreams.
Gratitude, when practiced in the gift-and-response way, puts us in flow. We find ourselves in a state of grace more often. This is the optimal state in which to get the writing done.
I am grateful for you and being able to share my gift. May you enter fully into gratitude and become a writer who gets the writing done and done well.
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