Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Gratitude

©Brigitta Huegel

Dear You, 
I thought for a while before chosing this photo to illustrate "gratitude".
It shows that being grateful is like being a mirror: you notice what is around you, you reflect it - and don't take it just for granted. (Well - the image is a bit wobbly...)
Which we often do instead of being thankful.
When we feel down we sometimes narrow our vision and become unfair: we see only the half-empty glass, only 'poor-little-me'.
Actually I wanted to show here a video with the song of Ralph Mctell, "Streets of London" - but both versions on youtube were - so I think - exploiting and preying on private misfortune, so I choose another video instead, which even as a child I thought of as "pure envy" - the contrary of gratefulness: Peter Sarstedt's song "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?" Our 'captain' on the narrowboat on the Leeds-Liverpool-Canal, Matti, a musician, could perform it very well - the highlight was the little bitter laugh - ahahaha - in between. But hear yourself - what is the singer accusing the girl of? That she got what they both(!) aimed for - "with burning ambition"?
I hate it when people claim "I can look into your head" - (though nowadays, with all those people shouting their thoughts into their cellphone, we almost can - for a moment).



Back to gratitude: yes,  I write (almost every day) into a Gratitude Journal. I do it in the morning (being a morning person) and recall the blessings of the day before. At least five items.
I always find more.
Sometimes very trivial things - "first little violet opened her eyes - thanks she survived the hard winter!" (I am on good footing with it - so I am allowed to say "her") - or very important things.
The small things predominate - but that is just the trick, the charm: by being able to see that so much beauty and good surrounds you in everyday life one recognises that one must be a very dull person not to notice it.
A French proverb says:
                                          "Gratitude is the heart's memory." 
                                                                                                         So it is.


23 comments:

  1. "The small things predominate." I like that very much, for those are the things, in multitudes, we so often overlook, and really, the best of life is made up not of so many grand moments, but of many small things.

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    1. Thank you, Sue: little flowers in Innisfree Garden, together with the whole laying out (not to forget a delicious picnic!); a walk over the Hudson River, a breathtaking view from a house - all unforgettable moments I am really thankful for.

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  2. You have hit upon the basis of happiness. Appreciation of the things around us is necessary. Too often we look toward something in the future and pay no attention to the wonders around us.

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    1. TAs you say: trying to stay in the moment and honour it (instead of grabbing for something else in the future) makes us often happy.

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    2. (I started: "Thank you, Emma: As.... then something disappeared :-)

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  3. It is nearly always the small, non-materialistic things that bring us the most happiness, isn't it Britta ? Acts of kindness, nature and a helping hand can make our day and cost nothing. XXXX

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    1. True, Jackie: smiles, a look, a touch, a sound - the feeling to belong - that is so important. XXXX

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  4. I am so glad i read your post now, it is almost midnight here, and tomorow morning i want to start and look for some good things in my life,every day.I need it so much.

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    1. I'm glad you like it, Yael. When I look at your blog (I am a newcomer there) I get the distinct impression that you already do notice. What I like about writing it down is reading it some months later: it gives very vivid impressions; in a diary sometimes one is disposed to write little complaints, here it is bliss - much more pleasant.

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  5. We should all keep a gratitude diary I think because often we forget just how lucky we are.

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    1. Yes, Elaine - I started about three years ago, because happiness-researchers found out that it is one method (among many useless ones) to really get happier.

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  6. I had never heard of a Gratitude Diary before today.
    I have a wall calendar for planning and recording training runs and other keep fit activities, but that's about it. As you can imagine there are always days with blank spaces. Those spaces now have a purpose. Many thanks!

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    1. To fill those blank spaces is a great idea, Gwil. I think that as a poet you observe things more intensely, and thus cherish them that way.

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    2. PS: Sorry -it is still impossible to write a comment on your blog!

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    3. Synchronicity? After reading your post and posting my comment I was looking for a book when I was distracted by another book I'd completely forgotten I had. In fact I'd never read it. I casually flicked through it and suddenly found the following sentence leaping off the page: Write down five things you are grateful for each morning - read them.

      ps- Comments and blog now ok.

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    4. I believe in synchronicity, Gwil. Sometimes I go through a library or bookshop and just look what might "hum" at me. Of cause there is the phenomenon that, if I own a red car, I suddenly see a lot of red cars around me - raised alertness.
      I'm glad that your comment function works again!

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  7. I found this post difficult to understand for some reason. Also both Peter Sarstedt and Ralph McTell, these two songs, were played on Friday night on BBC tv and I was puzzled, is this purely coincidence? Back to finding it difficult to understand, because I absorb good things each day and appreciate them. But I don't write them down.

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    1. Cool: you think we can sue the BBC for playing both songs that we did in that order already on the narrowboat in September, Rachel? (Witness: one of the editors of the Daily Mail; he played one guitar). As we cannot receive BBC tv in Germany (unfortunately I always have to buy their DVDs) I could not detect how they did it :-)
      As to not understanding the reason of a gratitude journal: it is not rocket science. When you as a painter draw something, you will look harder at the thing you draw. Same with words. AND I doubt that one always adds the 'thank you' when something beautiful flies past. The point is to make oneself notice that the good thing is not taken for granted.

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    2. Oh well, coincidence. Sorry but the gratitude journal is lost on me. I never take anything foe granted.

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    3. That's absolutely OK, Rachel - some like it, some don't. For me it is like of going out with a camera: in both cases - with or without - I see a lot of interesting things. With a camera I focus or concentrate more on special details. As in writing - I select by making it cognisant/aware.

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  8. It is important to wake in gratitude. I must get better at it. I learn much here.

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    1. Thank you, Geo.! The tone of the mood one awakes with in the morning (or works to get it) is vital for the colour of the day, I am with you. (A cup of tea helps me :-)

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  9. Beautifully said, Britta. The thing about gratitude, is that a very little goes a long way, in the best sense. A lot of gratitude makes for a very full heart, a brighter outlook and - I am sure - a more attractive character.

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