Attitude of Gratitude

In the face of chaos and uncertainty, keep calm, carry on and choose kindness.
The practice of gratitude refines the decision to choose happiness. Photography by Eugene Golovesov

By Donna D’Cruz

By the pricking of our collective thumbs—whether we use them in now old-school ways to turn the page of a newspaper or magazine, or pad them quickly over our smartphones—the news seems glum and dispiriting. Political and societal forebodings loom large. Tectonic plates that seem to have kept our lives on an even keel are creaking and shifting in ominous ways that can make the most sanguine among us restive and uneasy.

It’s a daily task that’s quickly becoming a Herculean one, to live up to the now-ubiquitous red reminders exhorting us to “Keep Calm and Carry On,” part of a singular trifecta of advice originally issued by British civil servant A.P. Waterfield among others similarly concerned over public morale, at the start of the second World War. Now seems as good a time as any to look at a few forgotten pieces of advice, with their clarion call echoing over many decades: “Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might.” “Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring us victory.” Or from the inimitable FDR, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Those peppy, platitudinous red squares remind us to keep on, to practice our practice of discovering and nourishing seeds of gratitude in life, from relishing the blissful warmth of late-autumn sun on our back to enjoying, with the sweet innocence of Winnie-the-Pooh, the sheer delight of walking through blowing fall leaves on a blustery day. This practice does not move us toward perfection, but rather refines our decision to actively choose happiness and positivity in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

…The choice to tell ourselves that we deserve more than to be buffeted by the moods, choices and whims of others, and to listen more actively to our own, usually unerring, inner voice as to what sits well with us.

…The unflinching determination to see through a promise made, the ability to infuse good cheer like a vein of gold running through rock, and to temper resolution with kindness. Marcus Aurelius spoke well when he said, “Be tolerant with others, and strict with yourself.”

The eye of the beholder is the creator—you… You are the beauty and perfection you seek. Close your eyes, take a long deep breath and prepare for the most joyous, transcendent journey…within.; IG @donnadcruz1; Thursdays 5PM EST with @cristinacuomo on IG LIVE