Picture the word “gratitude” in your mind’s eye. As you visualize this word, does it bring back a memory of a time when you may have felt gratitude? Perhaps you have a fond memory of someone helping you to complete a difficult project, of someone bringing you soup when you were sick or of going out of her or his way to give you a lift, or of even saving your life?

Can you remember how this experience made you f-e-e-l? What emotions did this elicit in you? What realizations came up for you?

When we experience a deep sense of gratitude energy, we feel this energy in the center of our chest – the location of the heart chakra. And when we really feel this energy, gratitude becomes us and we become gratitude. This expression of gratitude then ripples through our body like a warm wave, giving us goose bumps, sometimes even evoking tears.

The intention behind what it is you are grateful for can be felt as a warm and gentle pressure centered around your heart and moving out of you and connecting with others. If your expression of gratitude is genuine, the people on the receiving end can sense it as an exchange of truth, a gesture of love!

Thanksgiving is a time when gratitude really gets a lot of attention. As people celebrate this holiday, many have developed traditions capturing their gratefulness, some even making lists to show for what and how much. This practice, while an excellent means of sharing gratitude in a “Is that all there is?” society can be elevated from a simple mental exercise to a heart-centered emotional response to something or someone that makes you feel really G-O-O-D!

Recently, the gratitude I feel has shifted to a much more powerful experience than it was even a year ago. When I visualize my gratitude, I now see it as parallel to forgiveness, compassion, humility, trust and, ultimately, love.

Forgiveness means that you cease to feel resentment, indignation or anger against another. You have been made aware of the wall the ego-self has created, separating you from the person or persons you were not able to forgive until now. Through this new awareness, you have climbed off your high horse, no longer feeling superior to this person – you have slipped into compassion. Remember: Every story has two sides.

Granted, it can be difficult to feel compassion for someone on the other side of the story if you have not had a similar circumstance in which you needed forgiveness. Compassion is the forgiveness aid you need to understand at a deep level what that other person may have been going through because, somehow, you now realize that you have been there, too. In this more enlightened frame of mind, you now want to support this other person rather than condemn her or him for the actions that hurt you.

Remember last month’s blog article, “Mistake or the path to wisdom”? The premise of my October article was that making “mis-steps” can teach us how to be our better selves. So, to connect the ideas from that article with this topic, I am suggesting that having compassion for yourself is the exact next step to feeling compassion for others.

Humility is a state of being free from pride and arrogance. It takes some work to override your ego’s need to be recognized. By bringing your focus into your heart and shifting into grace, you can begin to understand that we are all interconnected, ONE.

Trust is a BIG one because most of us are programmed to be suspicious. Trusting in the person you are sharing your gratitude with is a way of saying, “I trust that your intentions were good and that what you did for me came from your heart.” You are holding up a metaphorical mirror that allows your expression of gratitude to be reflected back to you from the other person’s heart without words.

The last and most important aspect of gratitude is love. Because the vibration of gratitude is motivated by love, it wouldn’t be complete without it. Ultimately, gratitude is the recognition of love, of another person acting out of selflessness on your behalf and without manipulation or expectation on their part.

My desire for you this Thanksgiving is that you focus on the parts of your being – your abilities, creativity, heart – and find a deeper meaning with respect to why you are here, what it is you are meant to do. Sometimes, gratitude sincerely felt requires that we simply turn down the volume of the outer world’s voice and just be.

I invite you to become a part of my community. Join the conversation and share your comments as they relate to the ideas in “our” blog and monthly newsletters. You may also want to join my Sunday Group Healing Call for additional support, a community of like-minds and Angelic Reformation Blessings.