Love, Grace and Gratitude

In Music, Music History, People that Rock, Ponder this, Try this, You HAVE to on November 23, 2009 at 5:00 am

Do you make an effort to show gratitude on a daily basis?  Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology, Prof. Robert Emmons says this, “Gratitude is a positive emotion that has traditionally been the realm of humanists and philosophers, and only recently the subject of a more scientific approach.  We study gratitude not as a merely academic discipline, but as a practical framework to better functioning in life by taking control of happiness levels and practicing the skill of emotional self-regulation.”  If you haven’t started already, in this Thanksgiving holiday season begin to take stock in your life for all the reasons you have to be grateful.

However, sometimes it is difficult to stop and think of all the things we do have when we live in a culture that focuses on “more” rather than “enough.”  Dissatisfaction with our current circumstances or magnitude of possessions can lead to an unhealthy sense of ingratitude.  This emotion can breed bitterness and spawn complacency.  That is one slippery slope you will travel down all alone; your company won’t be on high demand if you are carrying yourself with such a negative countenance.

Count your blessings

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude,” Denis Waitley.  Denis spends his time motivating others through his books and public speaking.  This week, take his advice and show love to those around you.  Offer grace when the natural reaction is to correct and judge.  Most importantly, experience a greater sense of gratitude by counting your blessings.

Scene from White Christmas

Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep) first recorded by Bing Crosby in White Christmas was written by Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989).  According to Saul Bornstein, Berlin’s publishing company manager, “it was a ritual for Berlin to write a complete song, words and music, every day. Berlin has said that he “does not believe in inspiration,” and feels that although he may be gifted in certain areas, his most successful compositions were the “result of work.”  In an interview in 1916, when he was 28, he said, “I do most of my work under pressure.  When I have a song to write I go home at night, and after dinner about eight I begin to work.  Sometimes I keep at it till 4 or 5 in the morning.  I do most of my writing at night, and although I have lived in the same apartment four years there has never been a complaint from any of my neighbors… ”

Irving Berlin, the early years

Not always certain about his own writing abilities, Irving once asked a songwriter friend, Mr. Herbert, whether he should study composition.  “You have a natural gift for words and music,” Mr. Herbert told him.  “Learning theory might help you a little, but it could cramp your style.”  Berlin took his advice.  Herbert later became a moving force behind the creation of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.  In 1914, Berlin joined him as a charter member of the organization that has protected the royalties of composers and writers ever since.

Here are the lyrics to this great song as a reminder for us to be slow to discontentment and quick to count our blessings – experiencing a deeper sense of gratitude this Thanksgiving season.  As an extra bonus, here is a sample of Diana Krall singing this song off her 2005 Christmas project.

Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessing instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

When my bankroll is gettin’ small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

I think about a nursery
And I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them
As they slumber in their beds

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

So if you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

For Thanksgiving, I would love to create a master list of everything the readers of the Nashville Music Buzz are thankful for.  Just leave a comment below with at least one thing you are grateful for!

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