Posts Tagged ‘gratitude attitude’

A Humanist Ash Wednesday?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Ash Wednesday, 01 March 2017
The Last Word has phoned me and there’s a pre-recorded interview scheduled for 3.45pm today on the theme of Ash Wednesday.
I gave it a bit of thought and rang back agreeing to do the interview.
I feel privileged to have been asked.
I guess it’s exploring a question I’ve been musing on a bit myself. Yes we don’t need the penitence and the guilt.
But it is a day, an opportunity, a moment to ponder our inevitable mortality, the inevitability of our own death.
And it is perhaps an invitation to live this day well.
You never see a hearse with a trailer, so amassing possessions isn’t what life’s about.
Fame is a deceitful and unfulfilling thing.
Winners’ trophies may end up pawned or thrown into skips.
Excessive work can lead to an early grave and an empty home.
Remember man thou art but dust
And unto dust thou shalt return.’
Perhaps it’s forgetfulness of our inevitable mortality that leads us down so many cul de sacs in life.
As a Humanist, I am convinced that this is my one and only life. I do not believe nor do I feel the need to believe in an afterlife.
So Ash Wednesday reminds me, lest I forget it, that I will die.
And I could die before tomorrow’s sunrise, or even before today’s sun has set. Or even before the interview with Matt – partly why I chose to upload this now! The interview might not happen or it might not be broadcast. But now is real. Now I live.
Lessons for me? Don’t worry about tomorrow – I mightn’t even be alive.
Live this moment to the full.
Choose time out to ponder and reflect and to be self-aware.
Be grateful for those who have loved me, and those I love.
Enjoy this moment – it really may be my last one.
Choose moderation rather than excess – there’s enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.
Embrace ‘enough’ as a value and be wary of that seductive word ‘more’
Cultivate the gratitude attitude.
Know thyself. (Socrates)
And do what you are best at for the benefit of others. (Aristotle)

The interview with Matt Cooper was broadcast on Today FM on Ash Wednesday 1 March 2017. Prof Salvador Ryan, Professor of Ecclesiastical History,  St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and Joe Armstrong discussed the significance of Ash Wednesday, for Christians and Humanists. It was a fun, lighthearted and harmonious discussion.

Gratitude

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

I’ve written quite a bit before in various published columns in the print media about the ‘gratitude attitude’. Thankfulness is an attitude, an awareness, a way of looking at things. When we lose sight of the gratitude attitude, we tend to have lost our balance. This minute, right now, you and I have so very many things to be thankful for that, were we to enumerate even a tiny fraction of them, we would be here forever. People spend their lives wishing they could see yet not once today before now did I pause to be thankful for my eyesight. I myself spent many years longing for a home of  my own yet, before this second, not once today did I pause to consider how lucky I am to now live in a home that I love. For years of my life I longed to find a life partner, someone I loved and who loved me yet how easy it is for me to take my wonderful wife for granted. And then there’s breath  and a beating heart, the wonder of life, a wondrous thing and my one and only life, a heart beating that one day will stop, lungs that will cease to inhale and exhale, my life spent, yet not once before now did I, this day, become aware of, let alone thankful for, the transient gift of my life.

Let’s pause to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. For those we love and who love us. For this moment. For literacy. For sight and light. For the Internet. Electricity. Our senses of hearing and touch, for taste, for the sense of smell. For colour, mobility, intelligence, consciousness. For sex and relationships, for our bodies. For music and books and art. For sport and passion and love. For time and healing. For serenity. For growth. For now. For all we are, all we have been and all we may yet be. For hope. For humanity. And again, for love.