In the U.S., we celebrate Thanksgiving Day this Thursday. As a naturalized American, I’ve come to embrace Thanksgiving as one of the most meaningful traditions of my adopted home country. I’ll never forget my first Thanksgiving. I was a 16-year-old homesick Freshman at Maui Community College. My Economics professor invited a group of us—all international students from Hong Kong and Macau—to his house to share the holiday with his family, which included his wife (Indian) and two beautiful children.
Because of that introduction to American Thanksgiving, this tradition registered in my heart as a very international experience that crosses ethnic, age and status separation. While I couldn’t appreciate it at that young age, I’ve come to believe that there’s one ultimate thing that melts any separation and breaks down all human barriers: Love. To be in gratitude is to connect to the consciousness of love. To be grateful is to express love. Quite simply, Gratitude is Love.
Love is the memory of the heart
I’m sure there will be a plethora of blog posts and articles about gratitude this week. This is, of course, a great thing, as there can’t be enough reminders about gratitude. After all, it’s so very easy to forget to be grateful, to forget about love. As a case in point, last week, I wrote about being at Dr. Robert Holden’s Loveability Program. In the opening session, we did an exercise of sharing with six different individuals six experiences of love from the week. Having just flown into New York from a work week in Florida, I was still very much in work mode and immediately felt challenged by the task. Six experiences of love? By the third person I encountered, both of us were stumped to come up with something we hadn’t already shared.
That was when I realized how narrowly we—I—defined love. When I expanded my consciousness of love from the presence of a conditioned feeling to include anything that isn’t rooted in fear—the antithesis of love—my memories were suddenly filled with all kinds of experiences of love. That exercise shone a spotlight on how much I mindlessly took for granted by not experiencing life through a consciousness of love. Love is omnipresent. It requires us to be pay attention and recognize all signs of it.
Gratitude is the memory of the heart. ~Jean Baptiste Massieu
As I sat down to write this week’s post, I remembered the above quote by Massieu to be, “Love is the memory of the heart.” Until I looked it up, I didn’t realize I had inadvertently replaced “Gratitude” with “Love.” My memory of the quote might have been off, but there was no mistake. Gratitude is Love.
Acts of love comes in all shapes and sizes
In my weekly visioning session for the new week, there wasn’t anything significant, but just simply a reminder to do small things with love. That prompted my memory of the following quote:
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa
Love and gratitude isn’t just associated with big things. Objectively insignificant things warrant our consciousness as much as big events, like births and promotions. So, as I go into this Thanksgiving week, I intend to follow Mother Teresa’s advice to do small things with great love. Here are just some examples:
- Taking my team out to lunch to express my gratitude for all that they have been doing to serve our internal customers with quality deliverables, ownership and professionalism.
- Taking care of administrative work I have been putting off because I dreaded them—with a consciousness of gratitude for the position I have.
- Enjoying my pre-Thanksgiving gathering with my weekly book group friends celebrating friendship, love, learning and growing together.
- Savoring every minute of gathering with my local family over Chinese hotpot on Thanksgiving Day.
- Making a point to end each day taking stock of what went especially went well in my day, no matter how small an event it may be objectively speaking.
- Really enjoying writing this blog post about love with love!
Most of all, I’m setting an intention to be mindful of facing what I cannot foresee at this point with love, not fear, including its derivatives, i.e., jealousy, anger, insecurity, etc.
What about you? Do you think Gratitude is Love? Regardless of whether you’re in the U.S., what small acts might you do this week with great love? Let’s create a collective inventory of “love actions”!
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