The Power of Gratitude

I spent this weekend camping with a friend who I hadn't seen since moving home from Australia, about five years ago. He is a carpenter who turned an old bus into his home, so we decided to take it on a little road trip. 

He spoke to me about some time he had spent living alone in a New Zealand in a cabin which was quite minimalist. To make his morning coffee required building a fire in order to boil the kettle. From the way he described the process it was clear that he missed the connection and appreciation that comes with being more involved in the process of our daily luxuries. When putting forth that level of energy the final product held a deeper level of enjoyment!

I have been preaching to the benefits of coming from a place of gratitude for a little while now, but his story so beautifully illustrated something I hadn't yet put words to.

The fact that the convenience of our modern day consumerist lifestyle has us utterly desensitized and taking most things for granted. 

Take for example how common it is to see someone angry at a server for forgetting a drink order, yet how often do we really stop to think about every component that goes into said cocktail? It may have five ingredients each from different places in the world. Each of them having gone through their own production  and distribution process before reaching the bartender, who combines them into a piece of imbibe-able art. Then passed on to a the server who continues to set it in from on you only minutes after placing an order.

Sure, frustration can come from the fact that you just spent fifteen dollars on a cocktail that took longer than hoped, but only when we operate with tunnel vision. Money is just energy, and in a scenario like this it has become confused with our worth and our time (which is a topic in itself for another day). To bring the focus back to gratitude we must grasp the bigger picture at hand.

We literally build grey matter in the brain when we focus on gratitude. Grey matter improves our memory, learning skills, and ability to be happy. What I find even more interesting is that is also affects our level of compassion, introspection and the ability for self-awareness. On the other hand studies are showing that drugs, alcohol and watching moderate amounts of porn shrink the grey matter in our brain. All of these things are desensitizing. A constant over load of advertisements and the act of consumerism is also desensitizing. For starters there is the overload of stimuli, but also the disconnection us from the effort that goes into creation. 

I'm not here to get into how tragic I find this disconnection, because positive things have also come from convenience. I am, however, happy to call us out on our laziness! What would happen if each of us took a vow to take thirty minutes out of each day and dedicate it to making something. An item that you would normally buy, whether it's food, clothing, furniture, anything! Still we are blessed to be able to pop down to the store and pick up the necessary materials. The point is to reconnect of the amount of work that goes into everything that we have at our fingertips these days. 

May we each recognize how lucky we really are, and from this place utilize convenience to creating change for the greater good!