At Lauralton Hall we started the month of November in Mass as we celebrated the Feast of All Saints. Our celebrant, Father Guy Dormevil P’12 and member of our Board of Trustees, offered many words of wisdom to our community in his homily. One that I still carry with me, weeks later, was the reminder that happiness comes from within. He encouraged us to smile as a way to let our happiness out and inspire others to be happy.
Most if not all spiritual traditions recognize the importance of gratefulness. In The Book of Joy, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, cowritten by Douglas Abrams, share that gratitude “allows us to shift our perspective toward all that we have been given and all that we have” “away from the narrow-minded focus on fault and lack.”
When my children were little, at an age when they did talk about their day, they would so easily fall into sharing all the “bad” parts. I remember saying to them, before they went there, that they had to tell me three things that they were grateful for about their day. That practice certainly brightened their mood and, at times, made those negative parts of the day appear inconsequential.
People often say I will be happy if.... or I will be happy when.... but we can be happy now by adding a practice of gratitude to our daily routine. Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk has written, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us happy.” In another article, “studies have shown that being grateful can lead to a more optimistic lifestyle. Although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows strong with use and practice.”
I encourage our community to grow our gratitude muscle by practicing it every day. I am grateful to be part of this warm and welcoming community. I hope that you all have a happy Thanksgiving and I hope to see you at our Christmas in the Mansion Preview Party or our Christmas Concert in early December.