Gratitude should be a cultivated virtue by those living a religious life; Gratitude for the earth that sustains us, for the sky that protects us, for the life we live and the challenges we are blessed with and brave enough to overcome.
One of the ways I display my gratitude for the life I live is by leaving gifts of offering. To digress just a touch, I use prayer beads. Usually these are beads in the form of a bracelet, sometimes I make them, sometimes I buy them. They get used alot; when driving, when walking, sometimes when in line at the post office. I use them mainly to recite the Runes to myself, to ground myself, to stabilize my breathing. Anyway there comes a time when they fall apart…when they do I gather the beads and carry them in a matchbox in my pocket.
I’ve got a lot of beads in there now. So, to continue, I carry these around with me, these beads that I’ve spent hours (probably) turning and spinning with intention and sometimes meditatively, that now have very little use. What are these beads good for? Well, as I go about my day I’ll leave them in places as an offering to a place or a person, a building or a parks genius loci, or a tree that I sit next to for a time.
This is a way for me to cultivate gratitude in my life for the places, things, and events that normally I would take for granted. I’ve left them in cars, at my workplace, outside when taking a walk, in school rooms, even in bathrooms that were in the right place at the right time – anywhere that I feel needs to be honored for what it has given to me – I say a small prayer of thanks or a prayer of acknowledgment and try to place the bead somewhere out of the way, somewhere safe if possible.
We so easily take things for granted living in a society that caters to our every whim. My gratitude beads allow me to reflect on the beauty around me daily, and to acknowledge the blessings that go ignored.