Gratitude can seem hard, at first. It can feel forced or artificial. Yet over time, we realize the work of gratitude is not about manufacturing reasons or feelings. Ultimately, gratitude is the practice of seeing what is already there.
One notion of being spiritual is to be other-worldly. This has been the predominant philosophy of our world, and the results have been predictably dysfunctional. When it is done in the name of religion, it can be disastrous.
At its worst, the Church acts like any other institution that thinks its first priority is to conserve and perpetuate itself. When survival is the primary concern, all other activities serve that concern. Serving others becomes secondary to serving itself.
There is nothing more destructive to real love than ideal love. It is easy to love a sentimental version of humanity, or the people around us, but that is just a distraction, a projection of our own ego.
Being thankful for the big things takes no more skill than getting wet in front of a fire hose. Developing gratitude for the small and insignificant events is like drawing water from a desert spring. Even in draughts, joy bubbles up.