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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

On Gratitude

Updated: Jan 18

"The root of joy is gratefulness... It's not joy that makes us grateful;

it's gratitude that makes us joyful." ~ David Steindl-Rast

It's knocking on our door. The inspiration wants in.

It arrives in the form of a sunrise, a tree, a sincere smile, in books, music, art and pictures. But in our busyness we don't notice, or let it in.

It's no surprise we suffer. The surprise is what we miss.

There's a world of wonderous stuff spread out before us like star dust of the milky way, and we often miss it. We nourish our body with food, but we starve our spirit of beauty.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are three simple things we can do to develop more gratitude starting right now.

1. Take a Gratitude Walk or Hike in Nature. Take note of the trees and pathways. Listen to the creek, the wind, the birds. Imagine the elements they've overcome to be where you are now. Be thankful you get to share this moment with Nature and express your gratitude however you see fit - shout it out, meditate on it, or simply quietly say "thank you."

"I should say the quality of gratitude rounds the whole emotional nature; I should say love and faith would quite lack vitality without it." ~ Walt Whitman

2. Keep a Journal (a "Gratitude" Journal?). With pen and paper, share your thoughts on things you find inspirational. Maybe it's a quote you read somewhere, a place you visited, or something someone did or said to encourage you in some way. Write it down and keep it in your Journal. Write it with your own handwriting, sloppy or not. Use ink. Your handwriting captures the spirit of your feelings more than a keypad. Make a list of all the things you're grateful for, including about who you are, what you've accomplished, where you live, challenges you've overcome.

"Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter

into your life and into the lives of all those around you." ~ Eileen Caddy

3. Share Your Gratitude. You've heard the saying, "To find a friend, be a friend." In the same way, in developing gratitude it helps by demonstrating more gratefulness. Find reasons to thank people for going above and beyond, and do it in writing if you can. As my friend, Laurie Magers shares, "If it's worth saying, it's worth even more in writing." Zig Ziglar calls it being a "Good Finder."

"Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for." ~ Zig Ziglar

Don't wait for kindness, generosity or attention to show up at your doorstep. Be kinder, more generous and pay more attention to the world around you. Discover reasons to smile more. Praise more. Laugh more. And don't put off gratitude. The moment you feel it, share it.

Happy Thanksgiving 2023 to you and your family, from Nicola and me.


I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident, married to Nicola Kennedy (in photo above). I’m a premium ghostwriter and photographer. I just want to say thanks for your attention - I appreciate it in such a noisy world. If you enjoyed it, please share with others.

It means a lot to me and it helps others see the story.

If you're interested in owning any photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, call or text me at 530.608.9150. Let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email: 

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