Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cultivating Gratitude

On this day held aside to give thanks and count blessings, we may sit and take stock of the previous year, spend time with our family, look into the eyes of our gentle dogs and offer a silent 'thank you' to the universe for having blessed us with such amazing Pit Bull-shaped souls. This is the one day of the year where gratitude is the main focus and being thankful takes front and center stage. But in life in general, and particularly in our work as advocates and activists, it can be difficult to cultivate a grateful attitude that becomes a part of who we are and how we live day to day.

We see much pain and suffering we are unable to ease, feel trapped because 'there is only so much' we can do, feel hopeless when the problem seems so big. Focusing on these things can become draining, and too much attention drawn to 'failures' can be defeating and actually undermine our cause and the work we do for Pit Bulls. Sometimes, we begin drowning in the negative, virtually ignoring the life-rafts of our successes which are right within our grasp.

It is important to take stock daily of what we DO have to be thankful for in the Pit Bull advocacy community, and to cultivate gratitude for what we've personally been able to accomplish for the dogs, as well as the wonderful people working for the same causes.

This past year we have a lot to feel grateful for, and we've seen things we never thought we'd see: More groups & individuals than ever working and sacrificing for Pit Bulls; people willing to come together to work for the greater good; the results of a celebrity fight bust which generated more positive press for the breed than seen in the last 1o years combined; a day set aside for country-wide celebration of the breed that seems to be growing more every year; and all the little, quiet successes that you may not hear about - the dogs that have been saved, their wounded souls made whole again. Every single one of these rescues is a miracle and we should all feel a strong sense of gratitude for each and every one.

Cicero said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

Gratitude props us up, and is a platform on which we are meant to use our other virtues. It is a mindset of positivity, of thankfulness, of gratefulness that gives us strength do what we have to do for the dogs.

So today, on this Thanksgiving, take stock of what you feel grateful for. And each day, cultivate an attitude of gratitude for what's been accomplished, for all the success - both big and small - and for all the other people who are doing amazing things for the APBT. Perhaps we can take a lesson from our dogs, who, in many cases despite incredibly hard, abusive, painful lives, show us more gratitude than could ever be measured, each and every day.

1 comment:

Mary said...

As always, such beautiful words, but more important positive thoughts, and a gentle reminder for all of us to give thanks. I want to take this moment to Thank You for all that you do and how you inspire the rest of us to keep up the good fight for this wonderful breed!