Jun 30, 2009

In pairs

I'm back on Twitter. And Facebook. I'm kafox9 on Twitter and kafox on Facebook.

There.

I am no longer a dinosaur. I am no longer hitting myself in the face with a hammer. I have decided I can't beat them so I join them. And I owe it to these two ladies.

Speaking of two ladies, here's a pair I want to be like when I grow up and here's why. I love people who call a shovel a shovel.

Jun 28, 2009

To the scared Swedish youth: I'm sorry.

(This is an English translation of a Norwegian original.)

Today I came across a well-written essay from a Swedish teenager. She was scared to death about her generation. She is worried about what will become of them. They seem to be so self-destructive. They are still embarrassed in the school locker room, while being happily posing in minimal clothes on the web. The Swedish teenager wants to know where we, who were kids in the 60's, are as parents. Why do we not look in on our kids? Why do we not read their Myspace or blog pages? Why do we not insist on making them come home at a decent hour? She touched a nerve in me, and I left the longest comment I've ever written on the Norwegian site that first pointed me to the Swedish girl's entry. This is my translation of that comment:

To the Swedish youth who wrote that she was scared to death: I'm sorry.

I am a 48-year-old woman, born as the 1960's started. I don't have children of my own, but I do have powers of observation. I have often said that we who were kids in the 60's are the last generation who had adults around us - named and nameless - who looked after us, chewed us out, guided us, _saw_ us. We had good reason to respect the grown-ups and rules.

Then society became far more lenient, and rules and respect in society disappeared. It didn't go to hell, but it was the end of deferring humbly to authority. So-called **"free child-rearing"** started. For some reason, it was believed that kids who got grades in school or were scolded for behaving badly were oppressed. I was never oppressed! Quite the contrary: I learned the difference between right and wrong, how to make amends if I hurt a friend, and how to stay out of trouble. I knew where I stood, both as a person and as a student, and what to do to improve myself.

My generation has a foundation that later generations didn't get. Because we know the rules, we can break them. We know what the alternative is if ignoring the rules doesn't work as well as we thought. But: We haven't passed the rules on to our children. We haven't noticed the _warning signs_. We haven't noticed that society has become materialistic without room for today's young to participate on those terms. Instead, we've given the young the impression that they have to live up to the message in advertising in order to be successful. My young mind was not influenced by such things; NRK - our only channel - had no ads. My generation could leave school at age 16 and get a job and were actually welcomed by the adults. They trained us; they believed we could think and be responsible. And we could because that was what was expected of us. Now we have money, we have cars, we have both parents working, we can afford cheap vacations to the Mediterranean (a rare event in the 70's) and complain if it isn't cheap enough.

We, who grew up without so many _things_ around us, are now surrounded by stuff - and have forgotten what made our own childhoods safe, which the Swedish girl misses: Attention from and guidance by the grown-ups.

She says that we adults are clueless about what goes on on the internet. She is quite right. Not everyone my age got to touch a computer on her first full-time job as a teenager - and liked it so much it has since been both a regular part of work and a hobby. But I know what to avoid on the 'net. I know what will make me feel sick. But I am nevertheless somewhat naïve because I don't participate in youth culture. My generation has not considered what impact modern technology and the internet has and that this is what today's kids are growing up with. We also haven't considered how current sexualization and objectifying affects today's people, especially the young.

I'm sorry, teens. I'm sorry that we who are older have not have the right priorities when it comes to you. There is nothing wrong with you, but I see that you live in a far more chaotic and confusing world than the one we had. I see that you haven't been made clear on how to be your own best friend, in other words, have self-respect for and a sense of responsibility to both yourselves and others. You haven't been given something to reach for, and you haven't been given anything to protect yourself with.

In order to survive chaos, it is good to know that some guides to life are eternal: Kindness and respect between people; friendship; self-respect; personal responsibility; knowing one's self-worth does not depend on outer things such as fashion or income; and a belief that the world does actually progress and is basically safe. No matter what some cynics will claim, people are still mainly good to each other.

That is what you and all young people should learn as children. It would help you navigate the teen years a little more easily.

Til svensk ungdom som er redd: Jeg beklager.

I dag kom jeg over et godt skrevet innlegg fra en svensk jente via Aftenposten. Den svenske jenten er livredd for sin generasjon. Hun opplever generasjonen sin som selvdestruktiv; de er sjenerte i fellesdusjen, men publiserer nakenbilder på nettet. Hun savner at foreldrene bryr seg, og henvender seg til oss som født på 60-tallet. Det hun sa fikk meg til å skrive det lengste kommentaren noensinne, og jeg gjengir den her.

Til den svenske ungdommen som skrev at hun er livredd: Jeg beklager.

Jeg er en kvinne på 48, født idet 60-tallet begynte. Jeg har ikke barn selv, men jeg har observasjonsevne. Jeg har ofte sagt at vi som var barn på 60-tallet var den siste generasjonen som hadde voksne rundt oss - kjente og ukjente - som passet på oss, kjeftet på oss, veiledet oss, _så oss_. Vi hadde grunn til å respektere voksne og regler.

Så skjedde en voldsom oppmyking og endatil opphør av både regler og respekt i samfunnet. Det gikk ikke til helvete, men å bøye seg ydmyk for autoriteter var det slutt på. Og den såkalte "fri oppdragelse" begynte. Av en eller annen grunn ble det oppfattet at unger som fikk karakterer i skolen eller fikk refs for dårlig oppførsel ble kuet. Jeg var da aldri kuet! Tvertimot: Jeg lærte forskjell på rett og galt, hvordan jeg skulle gjøre opp for meg om jeg skulle såre en venn, og hvordan jeg skulle unngå bråk. Jeg visste hvor jeg stod, både som elev og menneske, og hva jeg skulle gjøre for å forbedre meg selv.

Min generasjon har en ballast som senere generasjoner ikke fikk. Fordi vi kan reglene, kan vi bryte dem. Vi vet jo hva alternativet er om regelbrytingen ikke var så heldig. Men: Vi har ikke lært reglene videre til våre barn. Vi har ikke sett _faresignalene_. Vi har ikke sett at samfunnet er blitt materialistisk uten å gi ungdommen noen mulighet til å delta, men har heller gitt ungdommen det inntrykk av at de må leve opp til reklamens budskap for å være vellykket. Mitt unge sinn ble ikke påvirket av sånt; NRK - vår eneste kanal - hadde ikke reklame. Min generasjon kunne gå ut i arbeid som 16-åringer og ble faktisk ønsket velkommen av de voksne. De lærte oss opp; de trodde vi hadde hjerne og ansvarsfølelse. Og det hadde vi fordi omgivelsene ikke forventet annet. Nå har vi penger, vi har biler, vi har begge foreldre i jobb, vi har råd til å reise til syden flere ganger for året (da jeg var tenåring var det uvant om noen reiste til syden i det hele tatt), og vi klager over det hvis vi må betale mer enn 1000 kroner pr. person pr. uke.

Vi, som vokste opp uten så mange _ting_ rundt oss, omgir oss nå med ting - og har helt glemt hva som gjorde våre egne barndom trygge, som den unge svenske jenten savner: Oppmerksomhet og veiledning fra de voksne.

Hun bemerker at vi voksne ikke har peiling på hva som skjer på internet. Det har hun gjerne rett i. Det er ikke alle på min alder som fikk ta i en datamaskin på sin første fulltidsjobb som tenåring - og som likte det og har det både som arbeidsverktøy og hobby. Men jeg vet hva jeg skal styre unna på nettet. Hva som ikke vil få meg til å føle meg vel. Men jeg er likevel noe blåøyd fordi jeg ikke deltar direkte i ungdomskulturen. Min generasjon har ikke tatt høyde for hvilken gjennomslagskraft moderne teknologi og internett har hatt og at barn vokser opp med det. Vi har heller ikke tatt høyde for seksualiseringen og objektifiseringen som påvirker dagens mennesker, spesielt ungdom.

Jeg beklager, ungdom. Jeg beklager at vi eldre ikke har hatt de rette prioriteringer overfor dere. Det feiler dere ingenting, men jeg ser at dere lever i et langt mer kaotisk og forvirrende verden enn den vi hadde. Jeg ser at dere ikke har fått en oppfatning av hvordan være deres egen beste venn, mao. selv-respekt og ansvarsfølelse overfor både dere selv og andre. Dere har ikke fått noe å strekke dere etter, og dere har ikke fått noe å beskytte dere med.

For å overleve kaos er det godt å vite at det finnes visse ting en kan alltid styre livet sitt etter: Godhet og respekt mellom mennesker; vennskap; selv-respekt; personlig ansvar; vissheten at en ens egenverdi ikke er avhengig av ytre ting som mote eller inntekt; og troen på at verden faktisk går fremover og er egentlig trygg. Uansett hvor kyniske enkelte vil påstå at verden er blitt, så er mennesker fortsatt i hovedsak gode mot hverandre.

Det burde du og alle ungdommer fått lære som barn, så hadde ungdomstiden vært litt lettere å navigere.

(English translation.)

Jun 26, 2009

Don't stop 'til you get enough

When I woke up this morning and heard Michael Jackson had died, my first thought was, "Now he won't suffer any more." I have never had the impression that he was a happy man, an impression supported by what I've heard about his childhood, his family, his plastic surgeries and the accusation of his molesting children. So my first thought was that he was now finally at peace. A genius with music, but not with living.

I do not write about celebrities, but Michael Jackson has the odd distinction of being one of only two celebrities I have ever said hello to in Los Angeles. It may sound weird, but you can live for years in Los Angeles and not meet any show biz people. All you have to do is not move in their circles. But sometimes circles overlap, if only momentarily.

It was the autumn of 1979. I was a computer temp, mainly working part time while I went to college in the morning. One job was for an accountant in Beverly Hills. We were four girls in one office, entering various accounting data, like cancelled checks for various clients.

One day some great music came from our boss's office. "What's that?" we wanted to know. "It's Michael Jackson's new solo album," we were told. Michael Jackson had released several solo albums as a child, but it was this album in 1979, produced by Quincy Jones, that launched Michael's adult career away from his brothers, The Jackson 5, and Motown. And one day, he was at our office. While being shown out after a visit with our boss, our boss stopped in our doorway and invited us to say hi to Michael. We cheerfully said "Hello, Michael!", seated at our computers, to Michael standing in the doorway. And we got a boyish and shockingly shy "hi" in return.

That did not stop us from buying "Off the Wall". And at a party one of my office mates invited me to, the record we played the most that evening was "Off the Wall". It was my first "grown-up" party, where I drove a girlfriend and myself, and we had wine, and we went home with a couple of guys for a bit, and by the time I got home, it was 6:30 am.

The opening track, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", is still a huge favorite of mine, and features Michael's soon-to-be iconic, falsetto vocal insertions (hiccups) without limitation. I remember we thought it was odd, but it worked. It worked well. "Off the Wall" was a huge hit, with several tracks he wrote himself and co-produced, and gave him and the music industry faith in the new direction of his solo career.

Michael was known for his glittering glove, but before the glove were his glittering socks, as shown on the cover of "Off the Wall". I bought the CD version on vacation in Germany several years ago, happy to reacquaint myself with a fond memory.

Thanks for letting millions of us rock with you, Michael.

Jun 23, 2009

Threaten 'em with postage stamps

This year submitting the income tax forms was done entirely via computer. Forms were received via a web page, and submitted via a web page. A little too quickly on my part. (Next year I won't try to be first.) I should have reacted at the print-out my bank gave me; it showed me owning stock. I don't.

The tax return was published this week, and I was notified via e-mail and SMS. Since I was a little too quick, and my bank's global correction came a week after I submitted my tax forms, I decided to file a complaint last night. Electronically, of course.

Well, after a frustrating evening of being locked out of my own account (which may not have been my fault) and not getting passwords to my right e-mail account, I finally sorted out passwords, e-mail addresses and password codes, and merrily filled out the online complaints form. It protested when I neglected to check off the box for being within the complaint deadline.

I checked the deadline box off. The numbers 108 appeared in the box where the year goes. I tried writing 2008 every conceivable way I could think of, in both Firefox and Safari. I finally submitted an error report, which included what browsers I had tried and my operating system.

I got a pleasant reply the following day, suggesting I try Internet Explorer because they knew the form worked in IE.

How 1990's!

I told them that Microsoft no longer makes Internet Explorer for the Mac so that was no help, nor did every PC user use IE so had they really made a system that depended on one browser? If so, could they please tell me what my options were for filing a complaint electronically or did I have to resort to paper, envelope and postage stamps?

That got me the prompt reply: "We have been able to find and duplicate your error and expect to have a corrected version online by the end of the week. Please try again then."

Oh, so it wasn't my choice of browsers. How about that.

Jun 14, 2009

Norwegian not spoken here

dialect (noun) a particular form of a language that is peculiar to a specific region or social group.
accent (noun) 1 a distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, esp. one associated with a particular nation, locality, or social class.
(From my Mac's built-in dictionary.)

My friend Sravana was musing about learning Norwegian. She was poking around LiveMocha and asked which Norwegian I speak: bokmål or nynorsk.

The short answer: Neither.

Here comes the (much) longer answer:

Bokmål and nynorsk are Norway's two official versions of written Norwegian. Bokmål (literally book language) is derived from Danish and, as its name suggests, was used in official documents, university books, etc. It is the Norwegian you are most likely to see in print and in sub-titles on TV.

Nynorsk (literally new Norwegian) was born in the mid-1800's fever of national romanticism and a desire to distance oneself from everything Danish. It is the result of gathering words and expressions from local regional dialects in Norway, primarily from the fjords and valleys of western Norway. Wikipedia explains the history of nynorsk well.

Since bokmål and nynorsk are written languages, nobody actually speaks them except for TV and radio announcers. What people do speak are regional dialects.

I speak the dialect of Bergen ("bergensk"), a dialect known for its mix of bokmål and nynorsk words, a heap of uniquely Bergen ones (like saying "boss" rather than the Norwegian "søppel" when referring to garbage), no feminine gender (it's "sola" everywhere else and "solen" in Bergen, when speaking about the sun, a feminine noun in Norwegian), and a strong gutteral R, unique to Bergen. No sing-songy accent, though; western Norwegian accents have a lilt similar to English. The sing-songers are "back east" and Swedes. In other words, I sound nothing like the king, whose accent is from the posher parts of the Oslo area. Also, there is no king's Norwegian; the royal family, like all Norwegians, speak whatever is their local dialect. Our crown princess, Mette-Marit, has kept her Kristiansand-accent with its soft guttural R.

Mette-Marit is not an exception. As a rule, people don't change their dialects when they move. Not any more. People from northern Norway could be bullied and discriminated against in Oslo, so they'd drop their distinctive northern accent and adopt a generic eastern Norwegian mode of speaking. Bullying because of a dialect has happened, but in my lifetime that sort of thing has faded.

Regional dialect shows roots, heritage and identity, and is a source of pride. It may soften with exposure to others or out of necessity, but no one ever really gets rid of their native accent. Norwegians do not have the habit of moderating their accents when encountering outsiders, and there is no standardized spoken Norwegian that everyone can freely use without being called a snob or a fake. This poses huge challenges for a foreigner who has learned only one form of Norwegian and then encounters other dialects (or nynorsk in print). Or for someone from Bergen who encounters someone from Trondheim.

Due to television and radio being based in Oslo, there is an odd phenomenon one can observe with Norwegian children: When playing, they'll switch to an Oslo accent. I've even done that, sing-songing away with my other bergensk-speaking friends.

All of the above is taking place in a country of about 4.7 million people. It is said that every valley and every mountain top has its own dialect; my impression is that that is a conservative estimate. ;-) I said that we don't bully each other over regional accents, but we do fight over the written versions. Passions are extreme when it comes to which form of written Norwegian to learn.

I write in bokmål, which is standard for Bergen. I do this in spite of having attended a nynorsk school, which was common for the rural area next-door to Bergen. The truth is, I've forgotten how to write in nynorsk since my exposure to it is so small. (And, no, I'm not forgetting to capitalize the names of the languages; they aren't capitalized in Norwegian.)

A nynorsk school means that the main language taught in and with is nynorsk; all school books are printed in that language. Bokmål is then taught as a side language; it's mandatory. In bokmål schools, the main language is bokmål, with nynorsk on the side. Because of the structure of nynorsk and all its dialect-derived words, it is a hard language to learn for someone who has been exposed mainly to bokmål. This is part of why passions still run high about the two languages.

Me, with my exposure to nynorsk and to regional west coast dialects that sound like nynorsk, I love reading the articles in my local newspaper that are written in that language, and I prefer news announcers who speak nynorsk because it sounds clearer and even more melodic. For this reason, I've survived the fact that most episodes of Columbo on Norwegian TV (NRK) have been sub-titled in nynorsk. NRK, as a government-owned broadcaster, is obligated to use nynorsk in 25 % of its programming, including sub-titles.

I know enough about Norway and Norwegians to understand the frustration with nynorsk and yet the desire to hang on to it. Almost 200 years later, the Norwegians are still trying to free themselves from the 400-year reign of the Danes.

Jun 8, 2009

110/70

Sometimes pleasant surprises come with a pinching squeeze. In fact, the company doctor was baffled enough to check my blood pressure a third time. Probably because we'd both just been laughing. I was remembering my blood pressure as 120/80 (still not bad for a woman my age), but it was 110/70 18 months ago, too.

In other baffling news, total cholesterol's down and lung capacity is still better than the norm for a woman of my size and age.

I see the signs of aging creeping up on me slowly. Weight gain has added a belly and fledgling bat wings. It is so easy to find fault, to complain, to miss the younger me - and then my body goes and does this: Gives test results that say I am younger than my birthdate claims.

What can I do except be very happy about the result? A bit awestruck, too, but mostly just incredibly grateful. Whatever's under the hood on this vehicle my soul travels in, it was very well-made!

Oh, I do take care of it, in my way, but I don't really know what I'm doing right. I eat well, I don't deny myself much, not even a weekly dinner at McDonald's, but a lot of my diet is vegetarian and often organically grown. My habits seem a bit new agey veggie, but the truth is, I easily go without meat (so much for the blood type diet theory; I'm an 0+), I don't have any major yens for sweets, I don't snack, and I eat a lot of whole grain stuff because I've always loved my cereal and my pasta. I think the key, though, is that I'm eating what I like, without guilt.

In spite of a stressful year so far because work got so much busier, I seem to be doing very well. I mean, blood pressure's supposed to go up when you're under a lot of pressure, right? The doc said I must be good at taking care of myself.

Am I? I keep meaning to get back to yoga more regularly. I did have a vegetarian weekend, and I'm trying to cut out my third daily cup of coffee (but I'm keeping the other two!), but my only exercise, really, is the little bit of walking to and from work I do. Then I am reminded of what people pushing 100 say: It varies whether or not they ate well as in healthy; it varies on whether or not they exercised, though they did all stay busy. What they all do say is that they have been happy.

I do exercise, I realize. I exercise my mind. It is constantly being reminded to keep a positive focus, and if a problem arises, to think about solutions, or at least distract myself so I don't get worked up. My mind is fed a healthier diet than my body is (though it, too, gets the occasional McDonald's meal; the world wide web can trap you in unhealthy corners), and I have found that regular spiritual or uplifting feedings does me a world of good.

110/70. At age 48. That gives me a lot of leeway as I age, since it is said that blood pressure rises with age. I am definitely blessed!

Jun 7, 2009

Romance for lunch

The pair sat side by side on the railing, gray backs facing in one direction, gleeming white chests in the other, yellow beaks moving as they surveyed their surroundings, shoulder to shoulder. Tenderly they'd nudge each other. Sometimes they'd open their beaks up wide, extending their necks, and call together. Then they'd shake their tail feathers and settle down again, still close.

A week later, one was scratching some twigs together on the terrace floor, twigs brought by her partner. The fledgling nest was situated at the foot of a temporary fire escape staircase, erected temporarily while our office building is being renovated. The female would sit on the pile, and get up and adjust a twig or three, sometimes tucking a tuft of grass in. After a week of testing and adding to the nest, we spotted a grayish egg.

The lack of human activity on the terrace itself may be why the gulls chose it as a site for their nest. Three eggs are in it now, and incubation is 24-28 days. We will probably not get to see the baby gulls wander around since our cafeteria is also being renovated and will close mid-June and not open till the fall.

But for now, those of us who sit next to the large windows overlooking the terrace, watch momma lay quietly on her eggs, her beak often tucked under a wing. Her partner sits around a lot on the terrace railing and keeps her company or wanders off to eat. I can't tell gulls apart, but assume that, like oystercatchers, the male and female take turns incubating.

A little bit of drama happened the other day when a pair of magpies took a walk on the terrace only 10 feet away from the nesting bird. Immediately, the nesting gull stretched its neck, eyes not leaving the black and white predators. Crows and magpies will happily eat gull eggs and babies. The magpie pair left the terrace and flew to the parking lot by the office building next door. The gull partner came out of nowhere, swooping down from the sky, buzzing the magpies. Then the partner took up watch from atop a lamp post. After a while, drama over, the bird on the eggs was once again resting, with beak under wing.

We won't know the fate of the eggs or any subsequent chicks. We won't have access to the windows while the cafeteria is closed for renovation. The gulls won't be there when we return to our window seats this fall. But right now, as we sit down with our trays of food and drink, ready to chat about anything under the sun with co-workers, we take a look out the window, at the gull couple that happens to live there this summer, and appreciate the glimpse they give us into their life.

Jun 6, 2009

Gratitude is attitude

Gratitude is about making a list over everything you have to be thankful for: Health, family, job, home, food, a lovely day, a gift from a friend, a computer to write a blog on, electricity to run the computer.

That's what some who teach about gratitude say. Me, I disagree.

Oh, making a list every day is a very helpful tool for increasing awareness about how much you have to be grateful for. But that's all it is, in my opinion: A tool.

The goal is not to make lists, but to be be naturally grateful without thinking.

I have observed people who are struggling. They write a list all right - a list of all their troubles. Then they end it with a list of things to be grateful for, as if the two cancel each other out.

They don't.

Or: They write their lists to in order to make deals with higher powers: If I am grateful, then the Universe will take my problems away, seems to be the attitude then. Some people's gratitude lists or blog posts read rather like the bargaining some people do with God or children do with Santa Claus: "I'll be good and grateful, if you'll only..."

The thing is, gratitude is attitude, nothing else. No behavior, no deal, no give and take (!). Attitude is a habitual and often unconscious way of thinking. If I am to describe what the attitude of gratitude feels like, then I would say it most closely resembles living in the now. I find that when I am filled with gratitude over noticing a pretty flower, I am in the moment, in the now. I stand still and listen to a bird singing, and find myself thanking the bird (although I know he's just hoping some (other) female will show up). I'm really thanking the moment and my own good sense to allow myself to have it. Appreciation is gratitude.

Why stop to smell the roses? Because we consider roses pretty? Because they do smell good? Or because paying attention, allowing yourself to use your senses makes you feel more whole, more alive? I'd say that last one is it. It helps you live in the now. And gratitude adds to that feeling.

So why not make a list? It depends on why you make the list. Some people start keeping gratitude journals because they are trying to change their lives. They want to increase prosperity or abundance in their lives, or they want to complain less. Gratitude is part of abundance, and it is counting your blessings, so they try to increase their thankfulness. And one way to focus on things to give thanks for is to write them down.

However, all too often, writing gratitude lists or focusing on giving thanks accidentally focuses on the opposite. I'll let Eric Butterworth in his book "Spiritual Economics - the prosperity process" explain:


Some persons, realizing the importance of the grateful heart, begin looking for things for which to give thanks. However, they mistakenly start with the perspective of inadequacy and insufficiency, and thus they simply become more conscious of limitations. The result is, instead of counting their blessings, they count their envies: "He is so talented"; "She has so many lovely things"; or "I wish I had a lovely home like they have." As a result of this very subtle process, they develop, paradoxically, "ungrateful hearts".


I write no lists. I have come across books that encourage such things, but I never found them interesting or useful. And, ironically, I find blogs that function as gratitude journals boring to read - probably because they are just an elaborate list.

This blog post is the result of me questioning my apparent lack of thankfulness since I don't write lists, nor do I end my day by meditating over all the good things that have happened or by visioning tomorrow's blessings. And yet I have a good life, few worries, and the sense to appreciate the good in my life and around me any time of day. So I wondered what was the difference between me and the list-makers.

My answer is in the approach and the mentality behind it. In my experience, gratitude is very similar to living in the moment, which means being able to enjoy the here and now and appreciate it. True gratitude is not about lists or even about being good. True gratitude is about perspective. It's about understanding what is important in life, in your life. It's about the big picture. Details to be happy about should function as reminders of that fact, not as a goal in themselves. Let me quote Eric Butterworth again:


[I]t doesn't make any difference to God whether you thank Him or not. But it makes a lot of difference to you. … [G]ratitude is not for God. You are not obligated to thank God for your life, for your job, for your prosperity. However, giving thanks is an important state of your consciousness which keeps you in an awareness of oneness with divine flow. When you understand this you see that a grateful heart does not need something to be grateful for. One can be grateful with the same spontaneity as being happy. It simply flows forth from within and becomes a causative energy."


Butterworth then goes on to explain a statement of Paul's: "In all things give thanks." [Corinth. 12:1) However, Paul doesn't say "For all things give thanks", Butterworth points out. That wording would mean being grateful for everything, including your problems. Again, it's not about making a list; it's about attitude:


What Paul does say is "in all things give thanks."[1] In other words, despite the problems of lack, or even because of them, the need is to get yourself recentered in the awareness of the ever-presence of substance [i.e. abundance]. And the most effective way to accomplish this is by thanksgiving. He is stressing the importance of the grateful heart, not simply an expression of gratiude for things, but a heart that is grateful (full of greatness)."


The heart that is grateful runs on automatic, pulling in more good feelings and therefore more good without a second thought on your part. It's far better than a list!

[1] 1 Thessalonians 5:18