Attitude of Gratitude (On Holiday in Paradise)

2012 was a year of extremes for my family. When it came time to plan the upcoming end-of-year festivities, we hesitated, thinking back to what we were doing this time last year. My father’s illness had taken a turn, and he was rushed to the hospital on Christmas night. Less than 2 months later, we would lose him. We didn’t want to spend this holiday season in a place where it was easy to dwell on the sadness and challenges of the past. My dear mother proposed an idea that would put us as far away as possible, mentally and literally. She suggested we take a trip to Hawaii. And so we went, my mother, my sister, and I.

We saw whales:

We saw rainbows:

We strolled through gardens, toured an organic farm, went snorkeling, kayaked, went to a luau, drank out of coconuts, floated in the ocean, worshipped the sun, cracked jokes, danced, ate beautiful food, listened to waterfalls, inhaled deeply in fields of lavender, and took in views like this:

It was almost too much. As rotten as it is to lose your father, this trip seemed far beyond its opposite. I gave up trying to rationalize our enormously good fortune, just as I had when trying to determine why Dad couldn’t have been allowed to stick around longer. Some things are beyond rationale. All you can do is be grateful for what is.

Yogi Bhajan had a lot to say about the “attitude of gratitude”. He has famously declared it “the highest yoga”, then elaborates:

“The happiness in life lies in gratitude, and the way to prosperity, to happiness, to life, to love, to all items in life, is in gratitude, not in being great. Doesn’t matter how much you try, you can never be great if you do not have an attitude of gratitude, it is basic. Appreciation is an art and a lifestyle, a source of happiness and fulfillment. A person who develops an attitude of gratitude is absolutely divine. You don’t have to sweat. If you have achieved the attitude of gratitude, everything in the world will come to you. If you make it a point to have an attitude of gratitude, it could be the greatest achievement in your life. Gratefulness will make you great”.

Yogi Bhajan-inspired psychotherapist Dan Bolton breaks it down further:

“The key to having an “Attitude of Gratitude” is acceptance. First accept that whatever is happening is in fact happening, then find acceptance for what is happening. Surrender to the wisdom of the moment. What does this moment in life have to teach you? What is the lesson here? Flow with what the world is putting on your doorstep, and you can create harmony with whatever is happening around you or even to you. That state of gratitude creates a positive vibration. When you emit that positive vibration from your being, you will in turn attract positivity back to you”.

Or, as Oprah puts it, “The more you practice gratitude, the more you will find to be grateful for”.

I can definitely get down with that. I’ll start with my family. Thanks, ladies. Best Christmas ever.