Friday, February 10, 2012
The Magic of Gratitude
In many ways, this is a companion to Be Your Own Valentine, because acceptance and gratitude go hand-in-hand. Gratitude is the step after acceptance.
Gratitude is acceptance on steroids.
It's easy to be grateful when good stuff happens. Celebrations are always in order when you get a raise, an unexpected bouquet, or even a $20 bill in last winter's coat pocket.
But why would anyone be grateful when the shit hits the fan? Because good stuff always happens as a result of the challenge. Always.
The trick is to see it. Sometimes you have to hunt for it, like that perfect birthday present for someone special who's really hard to buy for. But the gift is there....maybe hidden beneath judgment, resentment or shame, or sitting fearfully in a dark, secluded corner. It is there. Look for it.
I've been through some tough times. Rode hard and put up wet, as we say in Texas. Regardless of the situation, even (especially!) when the circumstances were of my own making (some of my mistakes have been real doozies, ladies and gentlemen), wonderful blessings are mine. Maybe it's a new awareness about myself. Maybe it's a new freedom...an unbeaten path...a fresh start...an inspired thought. Search for it. It's always there.
Some gifts are obvious -- the cash that you really need that drops out of nowhere, the car/home/job that magically appears at the perfect time, the clean bill of health. I received all these gifts when I needed them most.
The gifts you receive, large or small, deserve your gratitude. When I paid bills with checks instead of online (back in the olden days!), I wrote "TYG" on the memo line. "TYG" meant "Thank You, God" because I had already received those gifts -- the gift of water, electricity, clothing, food..... Trust me, it's a much more pleasant task when performed with gratitude instead of griping.
This doesn't mean that possessing an attitude of gratitude is a cure-all for the ills in your life. People still get sick, lose their jobs, have setbacks, but there are gifts in these circumstances as well. A new friend, the kindness of a stranger, unexpected help, forgiveness. And the gift may never outweigh the pain of the challenge, but it helps. Actually, it helps A LOT. The circumstances may not change, but your attitude and ability to cope, even thrive, will improve dramatically. I know whereof I speak, dear readers.
If you're looking for a "magic bullet" to fix your life, try gratitude. Can't hurt. Might help.
This is the bottom line for me...
God, The Universe, Great Spirit...whatever you choose to call Him/Her/It...is my Source. Everything comes from God. Since God is all good, all the time, everything that comes from my Source, is good. Even the "shit" (a subjective term, when in the middle of it, and can become gold with hindsight)....because the shit fertilizes the flowers. And flowers are a beautiful gift. A lotus flower rises up out of the mud and muck to become a beautiful symbol of enlightenment. The roots of the flower are in the mud, just as there is a gift in every challenge. The gifts and blessings are already there, waiting to bloom.
Have you been in a crisis, and seen the good in spite of it? If not, what could you do to hunt for it next time? Or maybe you consistently give thanks for everything....does it help during difficult times? How does it help you in calm times?
Have you been there?