Viewpoint

Gratitude has muscle

November 20, 2013 

Real gratitude is powerful.

I’m not talking about a Band-Aid to make us feel a little better, or a way to sweep problems under the rug. Gratitude doesn’t just nudge us in the right direction — it is the right direction. You might say it is a mental standpoint we can move to — and we’d better get going because where we stand mentally impacts the quality of life and of health.

Here in San Luis Obispo, we have this unique geographical feature of seven Morros — volcanic mountains — marching in a row through the town and into the Pacific Ocean at Morro Bay. One of our favorites to climb is Bishop Peak, right on the edge of town. From the street, you see the mountain looming above. The path up is strenuous, but as you climb, you get a much different view. Halfway up, where the meadows break and the trees and big rocks take over, is a lovely little oak grove providing a shady place to sit, catch your breath, and enjoy a little picnic (if you’ve been so clever as to bring one).

But keep on climbing, and as you get to the top, you get a far broader perspective. You see the outcome of geologic forces in the other Morros stretching out in front of you. You see the Pacific Ocean in the distance, and on a really clear day, you can see the curvature of Earth. The higher you go, the more you see.

Gratitude offers a similar perspective. The higher we go in thought — in filling our hearts and our consciousness with love and thankfulness — the more we get to see and experience that abundance. This impacts our lives and the lives of others as we figure out how to share this good. It’s an expansive standpoint, rather like sitting on top of Bishop Peak.

The personal health benefits of a grateful heart and a positive standpoint are now quite widely recognized. It doesn’t stop with oneself, however. The founder of my church, Mary Baker Eddy, put it this way: Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.

I have an invitation for you. This Sunday, the Ministerial Association of San Luis Obispo will host its annual interfaith, intergenerational Thanksgiving celebration for our community. The theme for 2013 is “Grateful for Blessings, Mindful of Needs.” Come, bring your family and friends, sing, worship together with an interfaith community and enjoy the fellowship! Offerings will be directed to nonprofit organizations that serve our community with skill and compassion

This Thanksgiving season, thank God with all your heart for all blessings! Acknowledge what is good wherever it is found.

Carol McFall, a past president of the Ministerial Association of San Luis Obispo, is a member of the Christian Science Church on Garden Street in San Luis Obispo.

INTERFAITH CELEBRATION

The Ministerial Association of San Luis Obispo invites the public to an interfaith Thanksgiving celebration this Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2201 Lawton Ave., San Luis Obispo. Child care will be provided. An offering of canned goods for the Food Bank and money for the Prado Day Care Center in SLO, Loaves and Fishes in Paso Robles, and the Women’s Shelter in SLO will be accepted. Stay for refreshments after the service. For more information, email the Rev. Rod Richards at minister@uuslo.org  .

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