Gratitude works in a strange way, at least it is strange to our egos. Our ego says, give me something and I'll naturally feel grateful. This seems normal, and to our ego, it is. But to our eternal spirit, our authentic self, the real part of us that will live forever, gratitude works in reverse. We begin by being grateful for whatever we desire, BEFORE we have it. That is also how faith works. We don't need to have a plan, no idea of how we will get it, yet we can feel grateful as though it is already ours. I often order items on eBay, an online sales outlet. I will find the item, pay for it, and wait. It is already mine. I feel grateful for finding it and being able to get it. But it is not yet in my hand. It is the same with gratitude. If there is something in life I desire, I begin by making sure it is not my ego greedily wanting more possessions. Since my ego is somewhat tamed, I can pretty well rest knowing it is my authentic self desiring the thing.
As another example, Marlene and I would have been happy getting married at City Hall, but most of her children live in Ottawa. Last year, we were advised of a contest where winners would have an all-expense paid wedding, complete with venue, flowers, photographer, officiant, wedding cake and much more. We had waited a long time until we could be married, and when we heard about the contest, it felt as though it was the Universe's gears in motion. All we needed to do was play along. So we entered and three days later found out we had won this fairytale wedding package. My next worry was driving to Ottawa in February, as I don't enjoy winter driving and don't even have snow tires. But again, I didn't worry about it, I just felt the gratitude and excitement about our upcoming wedding. Sure enough, the day was sunny and not too cold, as was the following day as well, for our drive home. It was our gratitude, excitement and joy that caused all of this to materialize - right down to the good weather.
A more difficult time to practice gratitude is when something seems to have gone wrong. For example, a customer doesn't show up, we get a flat tire or a dead battery. The first thing the ego wants to do is react, often with anger. But what if we were grateful for such events? We don't see the big picture. What if that customer not showing up allowed us to work on a different customer's project, and that flat tire or dead battery spared us from driving into a multi-car pileup on the highway? Sometimes we don't know the facts, but if we remain grateful throughout all situations, the Universe, or God, can use those situations to our benefit. The tire that was flat may have blown on the highway, or perhaps we simply should have bought new tires. At any rate, being grateful will open doors. A friend may have heard our story and offer new tires in our size. You just never know how the Universe will answer, and the 'how' is not even ours to worry about.