From the perspective of Karma and the Universal Law of One, the more you give, the more you will receive (receive tenfold what you give). The more grateful you are the more you will have to be grateful for. The more you help others, the more you will help yourself. We can all see the power of this Law working in our day-today lives if we just take an objective look.

Example: If you have a great pair of Gucci loafers that you love, you likely paid upwards of $750 for them. They are known to be the most comfortable shoe in the world, made of the finest leather and custom-fitted to your feet. So, if you say you are grateful for your Gucci loafers, yet walk through the mud and rain and snow with them on, scuff them up constantly, and kick them off in the middle of the living room and have to reach under the couch to retrieve them next time you wear them, your words of gratefulness do not match your behavior. Obviously, you put forth into the universe, your (negative) ungratefulness in addition to the deceit of your words. You will not likely ever get another pair of Gucci loafers and you may well find the dog has destroyed the ones you have.

That is the natural balance of the universe restoring harmony by giving you what you actually deserve. On the other hand, if you put galoshes on over those Gucci’s in bad weather, use a shoe horn to put your loafers on and gently slip them into their individual shoe bags after you take them off and oil them, then place them carefully in your closet after each use, you likely have a closet full of them.

Take a look around your life. How do you care for the things you have? How do you show gratefulness for the people and things in your life? How much do you have? How much do you do without? Is your life abundant or a struggle? Is your life comfortable, abundant, or are you barely getting by? Now you know why!

Gratitude is an emotion often over looked. Our experiences everyday are defined by our actions and our feelings of gratitude. Gratitude is appreciation for all you have, who you know and what you are able to do in life. Oddly enough, it might also be appreciation for what you don't have. Gratitude is more about the health of your soul rather than what you can achieve or what you want. It is learning to love and want what you already have that can set you free.

Although the world can be a dark and difficult place, an act of kindness changes the attitude of people around you quicker than almost anything else. You put a smile on other's faces and provide them a feeling of hope and faith that our humanity includes people who think of others instead of just themselves.

When we are grateful for the things and people in our lives, another great way to show it is by ‘Paying it forward'; which is the idea of doing something good for someone else (generally a stranger) that clearly you are the person that is capable of the kindness at the time.

You can also pay it forward to repay someone who helped you at a prior time. You do this by doing something for someone else not involved with the first act of kindness. You can help someone that you know or someone who is a complete stranger. You can pay it forward with money or a service. It is simply doing a good deed for another person. It is a thrill to do something to help someone else just because you can. Not only are you making someone else happy, but you too will feel happy as you do good in someone's life.

So, why would you pay it forward? When you do something nice for another person, you take the focus of your life off of yourself for a moment. Often we become so engrossed in our own lives we forget that our actions towards others affect us, too. Doing good, benefits everyone involved and everyone who sees the act itself. You spread good vibes when you do something for someone else, even if they don't see you do it. It is truly amazing what a little kindness can do to make someone's day. There is no harm in trying a few acts of kindness, whether monetary, a favor or a kind word.

You will raise your own level of consciousness, along with the level of the person you do the good deed for, because happiness elevates our levels. The bonus is that every time we increase just one person’s level of consciousness we raise the collective consciousness or humanity by doing so. It just makes good sense we’d want to do this regularly.

Take a look around you. Your own awareness of situations in which you can help is the best resource you will ever have to show your gratitude and help others in the process. Maybe there is an elderly person in your neighborhood who would love some company or could use some help around the house. Perhaps you live in a city where there are many homeless people and the local shelter could use your help serving lunch. You likely know a family who could use a free home-cooked meal, or a friend who could use a babysitter so she could have a night out with her husband, away from the kids.

Remember that you’re doing this not because you want something, but because you want to give something. You are not paying it forward, or really doing a good deed, if you are expecting anything in return.

After you do a good deed, if that person wants to repay you, tell them to pay it forward. Explain they can do something nice for someone else even if it is for strangers. You can tell them if you, yourself are simply paying it forward too and that they can do the same thing to help others.

Even if the person you help is not grateful, have faith that the person you helped will do unto others as you did to them when you are not there to witness it. Sometimes it can be daunting to feel uncertain if the person you are helping is really going to participate, but do it anyway and leave it to the universe to see to.

A few ways you can always pay it forward are:

• buy gas for the car next to you
• help a neighbor with yard work
• buy a homeless person a meal
• babysit for free
• put a quarter in a meter that is about to expire
• tip generously
• make a donation
• give a coat to a homeless person
• hold a door for another
• offer a stranger an umbrella when it rains
• leave a positive message for a stranger
• buy coffee for a co-worker
• leave a book for someone
• pay for someone else's bus fare
• volunteer at a homeless shelter
• stand up for someone in need of support
• give a lottery ticket to someone
• leave anonymous thank you notes
• pay a toll for the car behind you
• pay subway ticket for someone behind you
• buy a movie ticket for someone behind you
• give flowers or a card to someone who without visitors in a hospital
• give someone a compliment
• help someone move
• help a friend clean their house
• pay for someone's groceries in line behind you
• donate clothes
• give blood
• forgive someone
• offer to chef for someone who does not cook
• send a card to someone just to say that you are thinking of them
• raise money for someone who is in need

This content is an excerpt from the book THINK IT SO! © Jan Cohen 2000 and is published with her permission.