by Susan Gold

It was a beautiful summer morning in early September, one of those days that you know will warm up quite nicely, but not too warm as to be uncomfortable — a perfect day for a walk in nature.  I made my way up to the labyrinth at Earth Teach Forest Park on Indian Memorial Road.

The labyrinth is a place I like to go to mark the beginning of things.  This day was my 51st birthday, a great beginning, and optimal time for self reflection.

On this particular summer day I decided to dedicate my walk through the Labyrinth to gratitude.  It had been three years since the passing of my husband and best friend.  I was beginning to feel whole again.  I had actually begun to feel grateful for the magnificence of the journey each of us takes when someone dear to us moves on.

It’s the kind of experience that breaks a heart open.  Through the twists and the turns of the forest path, I thanked spirits and angels, sun and trees, tears and joy and all things of this earth, and I gave thanks for my experience of profound grief and for emerging from it into a renewed sense of awe and wonder.

Alone in the forest I was literally dancing along the labyrinth trail laughing and singing praises to the glory of life.

When we sing praises, when we give love and gratitude to anyone or anything, our very thoughtfulness creates a field around that thing or that person.  It ignites their energy field with new possibility and potential for fulfillment.  These are the words the forest spoke.

When we give loving praise and gratitude, we actually create a symphonic resonance that carries the highest expression of that being or that energy into perfect alignment with its manifestation.  In this we can begin to understand how it is and why it is that our native ancestors sang songs to the day and to the rising sun.  We can call nature into its perfect expression just by giving it love.

On this day I learned that even the angels benefit from our gratitude.  By thanking them I was giving energy to them in fulfillment of their work in creation.  They might have blessed one extra person that day because they received a bit of praise from me.

Gratitude is the necessary exchange for all things given.  It’s a simple act, gesture, thought or utterance acknowledging a gift received.  When we begin to see the true expression of all of Nature, I suspect we will be amazed to discover the phenomenal and far reaching effect that our gratitude and sincerity has.  It’s a good practice to develop, and to put to use as often as possible, in good times and in bad.