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An Excerpt from Thanking & Blessing - The Sacred Art: Spiritual Vitality Through Gratefulness by Jay Marshall

Jay Marshall presents a whole series of spiritual practices growing out of thanking and blessing. Here is an excerpt on joy and walking.

Experimenting with the Cheerful Walk

"It's easy to begin learning how to walk cheerfully.

"1. Begin by sitting quietly in preparation for your day. Visualize your day's itinerary as an intentional journey, not a task list. View the activities as your contribution to the ongoing work of God's creative spirit. See your day as one means in which you offer thanks to God and share the blessing of yourself with your corner of the world.

"2. Work to cultivate a positive disposition within yourself. Over your morning cup of coffee or tea, remember some of the best and worst days of your life. Recall the mental and emotional states of being that dominated those experiences.

"3. Reflect on how those states of being caused you to act, and to interact with others. Negativity allowed to roost in our hearts poisons our attitude. It alienates those around us. It complicates our ability to walk cheerfully.

"4. Identify your hurts and needs that enjoy nursing the negativity. Carry them into your Inner Sanctuary. Seek the healing and wholeness you need.

"5. As you walk through the day, meet the world with welcome engagement. When distractions divert your attention, remember your commitment to cheerful encounters, and allow that choice to influence your disposition. What do you have to offer in each situation? What can you learn or receive from each experience?

"6. Consider your impact. A decision to walk or not to walk, to go cheerfully or not cheerfully, is a decision with an impact upon others. A cheerful disposition buoys others when they encounter you. You influence them when they witness the radiant joy that fuels your enthusiasm. Appreciation may lead to admiration, which, with a little luck, may become emulation. In the words of another Friend, William Penn, 'The virtue and efficacy of this Light for the end for which God hath given it is to lead and guide the soul of man to blessedness.' As your cheerful walk shares blessing, blessing returns to you as well.

"Walk cheerfully over the earth. It is one way you put sacramental living into practice. You not only expect to encounter the Divine throughout the day, but you also actively work to introduce blessings in your walk. An open, cheerful disposition grows from your experience of being richly blessed. It, in turn, is a means by which you bless the world.

"Perhaps it is nothing more than offering a smile or lending a listening ear. It could include crossing cultural divides with grace so that stronger bridges are built. Or it could be learning to fog in moments of disagreement — finding something of value without condemnation, even as you prepare to articulate your disagreements. Walking cheerfully does your own heart good — and it invites others to respond in ways that add blessing and gratitude to the universe's grand flow."

 


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Thanking & Blessing - The Sacred Art
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