Attention & Gratitude

“Attention is the doorway to gratitude”. Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass.

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

This quote by Robin Wall Kimmerer means to me that I can only be grateful to that which I notice. How true! So often we zip through life, missing sunsets and sunrises, rainbows and puddles, while we rush to some place or another, or lose ourselves in devices while the most wonderful person is sitting right nearby. I find myself even taking photos of amazing things rather than spending the time that would allow me to drop into layers of that beauty that are beyond the external. What are some ways we can be more mindful, pay more attention to our world and each other? Attention begets gratitude.

Braiding Sweetgrass is an incredible book that reminds us to take time, to smell the sweetgrass, to go to the Source, to notice, and to be thankful. One of her chapters discusses the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address, very appropos for this time of year. A bit about the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and Thanksgiving Address:

giving-thanks-640pxThe Thanksgiving Address (the Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen) is the central prayer and invocation for the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations — Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora). It reflects their relationship of giving thanks for life and the world around them. The Haudenosaunee open and close every social and religious meeting with the Thanksgiving Address. It is also said as a daily sunrise prayer, and is an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and her inhabitants. The children learn that, according to Native American tradition, people everywhere are embraced as family. Our diversity, like all wonders of Nature, is truly a gift for which we are thankful.

This prayer helps people notice, remember, and offer thanks for all that we have been given on this planet. It reminds us to pay attention as the doorway to gratitude. A portion of the prayer follows:

The People Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continues. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as people. Now our minds are one.

The Earth Mother We are all thankful to our Mother, the Earth, for she gives us all that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she continues to care for us as she has from the beginning of time. To our mother, we send greetings and thanks. Now our minds are one.

The Waters We give thanks to all the waters of the world for quenching our thirst and providing us with strength. Water is life. We know its power in many forms‐ waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to the spirit of Water.   Now our minds are one.

IMG_7126The address goes on with additional odes of gratitude to The Fish, The Plants, The Food Plants, The Medicine Herbs, The Animals, The Trees, The Birds, The Four Winds, The Thunderers, The Sun, Grandmother Moon, The Stars, The Enlightened Teachers. The Haudenosaunee share this beautiful address freely as they were given it to share with the world.  Link to full Thanksgiving Address. It is right and good to spend more than 1 minute giving thanks with a prayer. We can start this Thanksgiving with a full, hearty thanks for all these gifts of life.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may you pay attention and give thanks every day for this amazing privilege of being alive on this planet and in this time together. Haola, Aloha, Mvtto, Aho, Amen. Now our minds are one. earth