Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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Gratitude… what is it?



As Thanksgiving weekend approaches in Canada, usually we give thanks in some form, for what we are fortunate enough to have. In every moment, every breath, there is something to be thankful for, but often it goes unnoticed. Close your eyes for a minute and experience your life without your sense of sight. Open them, and see how your life changes. What a gift. We don’t appreciate things until we lose them. Let’s change that now…. not to deny the negative, but to rest in awareness that there is so much already here.


To that end then, here is a blog I posted months ago, that I thought I would re-post today. Enjoy!


I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately, recognizing and being thankful for what I have. I often recommend this to clients who are struggling as we know if you write down 3 things you are grateful for everyday it helps us to see that the cup is half-full, not half-empty.


But is it enough to simply recognize that you are enough and you are ok? Sometimes… but it changes everything when we share our gifts with the world.


I was reminded of when, as a young graduate, I went to work and live in India as a teacher. The school was 15 km from my home and sometimes I would walk home just to take in the extraordinary bustling chaos of the streets of Bangalore. Traffic, food, dust, chickens, rickshaws… life!


I always passed a construction site where a large building was being built… mostly by hand, brick by brick it seemed, by men and women sweating in the too-hot sun, and their children playing in the glorious freedom of the larger-than-life sandbox of dust.  I would marvel at their painstakingly hard labour from sunrise to sunset, knowing back home we had machines, safety hats and water. Sometimes the kids would run out to greet me and ask me questions… “Miss, where are you going?”, “Miss, where are you from?”, and we would strike up a conversation.


Until one day, a school-age girl stated in a matter-of-fact way, “I hear you have big houses and don’t know your neighbours in Canada”. I stopped in my tracks. Here I was, seeing only the side of poverty, labour and sweat, and in my smugness, not realizing that it’s not black and white. The conditions were dire indeed, but it’s important to recognize what we have AND what we don’t have sometimes.


Yes, I am very grateful for where we live and what we have, but it’s not enough unless we can go beyond and share, connect and give once we recognize that place of gratitude and fulfillment, without expectation. What we put out into the world comes back to us ten-fold. It doesn’t have to be big… a smile, a gesture, a surprise gift. That is gratitude in action.


What are you wanting to ‘get’? That is what you need to give.  You want love? Shine love. You want respect? Show respect to yourself and others. Don’t wait for others to give to you. Start giving to yourself right now by giving it to others. You won’t receive something that you cannot already feel and give away. Now I understand Ghandi’s famous quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

[tweetthis]Life is a boomerang. What you give is what comes back to you. You are the creator of your own life.[/tweetthis]

As always, feel free to share right now what you are giving and receiving, down below in the comments or hop on over to the Just Breathe facebook page right here,


Happy Thanksgiving everyone and have a peaceful week,



4 thoughts on “Gratitude… what is it?”

  1. I gobbled up your message above, as “Gratitude” is much on my mind these days. Lately, I find myself thanking more friends more often for everyday things. And in meditations, I thank the influences that arrange the sweetest coincidences throughout my day. I think that slowing down and taking time (i.e. retirement & Meditation) has a lot to do with it, and in my case, a religious past. However, now that I am released from the commitment to my ailing wife, I do see the need to share my life more fully with others. I admire you for your commitment to the cause of Mindfulness and of course, the whole group appreciates your thoughtful in-sites.

    • Thanks for your comments, Ron. Slowing down and taking time really are key, aren’t they? I appreciate the group too!!

  2. Gratitude is not something I can’t conjure up .. It’s a” I am in the moment thing” for me. To sit down and write what I am thankful for is o.k but its when I truly feel that
    gratitude in my heart– it takes on a whole new energy for me..Wanted to share something I found on gratitude.. I woke up — I have clothes to wear— I have running water— I have food—- Life is good– I am thankful.. I felt very humbled when I read that.. have a great week guys …

    • Sheila, thanks for sharing that. When you feel it, you can share it! It is so often the little things we take for granted… Have a good week too.


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