Cheer Up: Reminders

Furnace. The first evening, about 5 o’clock, the pain from the extreme heat, exhaustion, and headaches make me completely lose control of my movements. I can’t lower the furnace damper. A coppersmith jumps up and lowers it for me. What gratitude you feel in such moments!
—Simone Weil, Factory Journal 

He took a big gulp of rosy air
in gratitude
And his eyes shone and his voice cracked
in gratitude
And in gratitude things to be grateful for
came to him
And with gratitude dark things left him
and light things took their place
—Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, “Gratitude”

Somehow [Bonnie] forced you to see yourself at your most amazing. Most precious. And believe in what you saw. She saw. All obstacles fell into shadow, disappeared, backlit by the blaze of what could be. Potentiality. The possible worlds.
—Diane di Prima, Recollections of My Life as a Woman

Ardor, urbanity, charm, sanity, goodness, irony, patience, hospitality, good deeds indifferent to public note, modesty of demeanor, face to face courage. Come hell or blown up bridges. Indeed, to tempt a fact into metaphor, these sisters and priests long before burned their secure bridges behind.
—Daniel Berrigan, Steadfastness of The Saints: A Journal of Peace and War in Central and North America

And I never realized that [the cornices of the buildings] meant spiritual labor, to anyone—that somebody had labored to make a curve in a piece of tin—to make a cornucopia out of a piece of industrial tin. Not only that man, the workman, the artisan, but the architect had thought of it, the builder had paid for it, the smelter had smelt it, the miner had dug it up out of the earth, the earth had gone through aeons preparing for it.  
—Allen Ginsberg,  The Essential Ginsberg

At times like this we cease to have distinct perceptions of light, space, silence, rustlings, warmth, sweet smells, the swaying of long grass or leaves—all the millions of ingredients that make up the world’s beauty.  What we perceive then is true beauty, and it tells us only one thing: that life is a blessing.
—Vasily Grossman, Stalingrad

The concept of mottainai encourages us to go deeper into the value of gratitude than simply committing ourselves not to throw things away, consume more than we need, or spend recklessly. It asks us to cultivate reverence for the resources we use, to amplify the regret we have over the waste we produce and the time we waste not doing anything about it, and to express our gratitude for what we have received. It also demands that we appreciate where things come from and what it costs the earth to have them brought to our doorsteps. 
—Wangari Maathai, Replenishing the Earth

When I am angry, I stop what I am doing and think of the people who have hurt me and recall any good deeds they have done, especially ones that benefited me.   Recalling good deeds fosters gratitude and gratitude undermines anger.  
—Roger Walsh, Essential Spirituality

Another common Japanese phrase is itadakimasu, which we say before eating. It is an expression of gratitude toward the food we are about to enjoy. It also conveys gratitude toward the people who made the food for us. Whether it be fish or vegetables, the food still contains life. By consuming this life, we ourselves are sustained and are able to go on living. For this we are very grateful. All of these sentiments are contained within the expression itadakimasu.
— Shunmyo Masuno, The Art of Simple Living

Appreciation is the sacrament.
—Allen Ginsberg, Photographs 

If the only prayer you say in your entire life is “Thank You,” that would suffice.  
—Meister Eckart, Matthew Fox, Meditations with Meister Eckhart

The presence of a noble nature, generous in its wishes, ardent in its charity, changes the lights for us: we begin to see things again in their larger, quieter masses and to believe that we too can bee seen and judged in the wholeness of our character.
—George Eliot, Middlemarch

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