My wise friend Polly recently informed me that Abraham Hicks makes a distinction between being "grateful" and being "appreciative." "Gratitude" (she paraphrased) implies a comparison with something that is not, but that could be.
I've always had a difficult time with gratitude. That's probably because it's so often used in the context of "things could be worse" AND it usually has a "should" in front of it. The word "gratitude" makes me remember my Grandma Etta scolding me when I got a birthday gift I didn't like. "You should be grateful..." she would have said, shaking a sharp finger, "some little girls don't even get gifts on their birthday."
(And then they have to walk two miles barefoot in the snow just to go to school, etc. etc.)
As adult as I strive to be, I can still be caught rolling my eyes (inwardly) every time Oprah or some other well meaning person recommends a "Gratitude journal" or some such exercise in giving thanks. But I didn't even realize it until Polly said she'd been practicing appreciation instead. So I tried it too.
Ahh!!! Appreciation! What a way to honor the divine! What a way to get high! What a way to spend a birthday weekend!
Appreciation. It's like smoking the good kind of weed that makes you see the tiniest, most amazing detail in every single thing. Appreciation of the smell of ramen noodles coming from a blue plastic bowl. Appreciation of my daughter's soft voice talking to herself while she plays with clay. Appreciation of my husband for going out to buy bagels for me on my birthday.
Appreciation. It's endless. It's euphoric. And, in my book, it's got gratitude beat by a mile.
After surfing today, I placed my booties on the surf wagon to take a picture. It had been cold enough to wear them, which signaled a definite change of seasons here in "seasonless" LA. True to my blissed-out self, I left them on the roof when I drove away. Two blocks down the street, a car behind me honked frantically. Then the driver leaned out her window "I think a shoe fell off your roof," she said.
I turned the car around, and there was a man standing in the street, enthusiastically waving my bootie. I pulled up and he handed it to me. "You are all so BEAUTIFUL!" I beamed and smiled uncontrollably. "Thank you!"
I was so appreciative. Of everything.