I’ve slowly been reading through Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts because I want to give myself time to digest every small intricacy that she brings to light. It’s a very emotionally moving book from page one. But the section I just read stood out to me the most in my present moment.
Ann writes about the word Eucharisteo which in greek basically means grace, joy, thanksgiving. It’s a combination of the three.
Grace, Joy, Thanksgiving = Eucharisteo
Ann writes that as long as thanks is possible, joy is possible. That to simply give thanks, despite the situation, works on bringing joy.
For such a simple statement, it is truly something that has resonated in my heart; believe in grace, give thanks, receive joy.
And … just like anything else, it takes work. It’s a choice. A choice to stay actively present. Currently my BC-DMT supervisor and I are discussing the effectiveness of mindfulness training. In mindfulness meditation, you work to train your mind to pay attention to the present moment without placing any judgment on thoughts you have or things you are experiencing. So, for example, you notice the fall colors on a tree outside as simply a lovely fall tree, without connecting the tree to any previous experiences you’ve had – good or bad – associated with fall. This taking notice of the present is important because it keeps our minds more alive and active. When we choose not to give attention to the present, to just notice it, we start to block ourselves from any pure and pleasurable experiences and are left increasingly more focused on what is distressing us.
In a way, mindfulness and Eucharisteo are closely intertwined. I am always amazed when God draws together themes like these in my life.
This formula is not for the faint hearted…because you have to believe in it. And some days, believing that giving thanks will bring joy may seem like a sugary, candy coated quick fix answer. Except it’s not. It’s a deeply rooted thread that begins to weave through everything you do.
Eventually (and I promise you this), you catch yourself wandering around humming all the time and smiling at the simplest joys.