Gratitude is a word many of us think we understand, we have heard our parents or some other adults at some point in our lives talk about how we should be grateful for the things we have or we’ve heard them talking about how so and so is ungrateful and doesn’t deserve the things they have.  But often we had no idea what it meant to be grateful. We just knew we weren’t getting what we wanted and sometime we didn’t always get the things we needed.
In either of those contexts the words gratitude and grateful are being used with a tinge of guilt added to them. That tinge of guilt is thrown in to remind us to stop asking our parents for things they don’t believe they can afford to provide for us or in some cases for things they really couldn’t provide.
I suppose you are wondering how this fits into my magick practices. For me gratitude is something I had only halfheartedly included into my spiritual practices as an adult. I thought if I said “thank you” for the blessings in my life that would be enough. The problem with that is I rarely was able to see anything in my life as a blessing. I had become so accustomed to not receiving the things I wanted that I never really believed what I had was anything I should be grateful for.
I spent most of my time bitching and moaning about how I was just barely surviving financially, or how my job just sucked because of a variety of reasons. I never seemed to be able to find anything to be grateful for or about.
I spent a great deal of time saying “thank you” for things I didn’t want and for situations that were sometimes unhealthy for  me simply because I was told that if you weren’t grateful for the survival style life I was living then somehow things would just get worse and I sure didn’t want that.
I don’t remember where or even when I started seeing gratitude come up in my magickal studies. I do remember that I saw it mentioned in nearly every book I picked up to read and in every reading I received (didn’t matter the divination method).
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The face of ungratefulness
Yes, there were great descriptions in the books I read, from books on spell craft by Laurie Cabot and other magickal authors to books and radio programs by Louise Hay,Wayne Dyeror books and CD’s from Esther and Jerry Hicks (Abraham). I had all but given up on the idea that my life could be filled with anything but the very basics for survival and mediocrity.
I still thought I was being grateful. I had no idea what it really meant to be grateful.
After hearing about “The Secret” for over two years and ignoring the nudge I was receiving from the Universe, I finally broke down and bought the book and the movie. I remember watching the movie and feeling something inside me shift. I suddenly understood that just saying “thank you” isn’t enough if you don’t really like or want the people, things, and experiences you currently have in your life.  
I also learned that you need to “feel” gratitude and being grateful isn’t just an intellectual process.  This was a new concept to me. I hadn’t really felt grateful for anything since I was a small child and I really wasn’t sure what I was remembering as the feeling of gratitude was really gratitude.
I tried feeling gratitude for things I didn’t have and wasn’t experiencing in an attempt to make my life seem more tolerable. Looking back it really wasn’t that bad, I was just in a really screwed up place. What I didn’t understand was that this doesn’t really work unless you can find even a tiny portion of your experience that you are truly tankful for and really feel it.. even if it is something as tiny (or as big) as being glad you have a place out of the weather to sleep for the night.
Nothing worked… the Vision Board I created was fruitless, the spells I cast didn’t work, the never ending mantra of  ”I am grateful for my job”  only seemed to make my job steadily grow worse.
I finally gave up on all of it…. I gave up on me… I nearly gave up my life…
I ended up having an appendicitis attack, quit my job and stayed home for six months. I was in counseling and ended up taking antidepressants to get me through the first couple of months.
During this time I started my spiritual search again. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, and I wasn’t sure I’d find it…. I hadn’t felt a connection to divinity in over five years.
I watched “The Secret” again and was reminded that it hadn’t answered my questions in the past and still didn’t hold the answers I was looking for. I think it was because I had received the message in its fullest the first time and it was time to look deeper. I read some books by the authors mentioned in the movie and started to understand a lot better what this elusive emotion, gratitude, might really be.
I began to recognize that there were thing I used to take for granted in my life that I really enjoyed and these things made me feel a certain type of happiness… I took notice of these things and pretty soon I understood this feeling was gratitude and when I felt this emotion, things seem to magickally happen the way I wanted it to. I also noticed that when I allowed myself to fall back into the old patterns of not recognizing this feeling of gratitude, then things just seemed to go all wrong.
I then found out that the creator (Rhonda Bryne) of “The Secret” had written a third book (The Magic) in the series and since I had read the first two; I figured I might as well read the third. Well… I did… and I am currently working the exercises in the book. I am halfway through the recommended 28 day time frame … and I am finding that I now experience gratitude on a daily basis and it has become more common for me to feel gratitude than it is for me to feel the ungrateful, deprived, judgmental and desperate feelings that used to be the normal feelings I experienced.
I don’t know if the shift in the way I experience life really has anything to do with “The Magic” or if it was just time for all those ideas, spells, affirmations and exercises from the past to come to fruition. I tend to think it is all of the above, but more importantly I believe it was my deep desire to actually experience something that would change my life by allowing me to be happy right where I’m at.. Ultimately allowing me to open up and allow more people, experiences and things in my life to enhance my feelings of gratefulness…. right where I’m at…
Have a Wicked Good Day!
Molly

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