“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” -Elie Wiesel
Ask anyone who has embarked upon a spiritual path of any kind and they will explain the path requires the utmost patience and unyielding faith. While I cannot speak for everyone, I will say as my path continues to unfold I am constantly reminded of how and why daily gratitude is an empowering and transformative practice.
At first the sound of establishing a daily gratitude practice might seem a little new agey, or even pretentious. I mean how many times have you been down and had a friend, or loved one say, “it could always be worse”, or “things may be bad but think about all the things you have to be grateful for”… Let’s face it, for most people, the motivation to start a gratitude journal and write down all of the “positive”, or “good” things to be grateful for isn’t easy when faced with the loss of a loved one, or struggling through financial hardship. However, this is when patience, faith and yes- gratitude become the most powerful tools you can utilize to transform negative energy, thoughts and emotions into a habit of appreciation which has the power to not only transform your life but free you from obstacles which bind you to your own sense of suffering.
Now you may be asking yourself, how can such a simple practice free you of such difficult obstacles? Well, a daily gratitude practice isn’t just about acknowledging all of your blessings, it is also about embracing and surrendering to all the qualities and aspects of your life, (past and present) which you deem “not so good”, or perhaps “unbearable”. Why would you want to express your gratitude for these “not so good”, or “shadowy” parts of yourself? There is something within you that desperately wants to be free, to realize your potential. It is the thing within you that wishes to express itself through your creative talents, interests and gifts. It is the intuitive sense you have which compels you to turn inward and create meaningful change in your life. Think about it.
When it comes down to the heart of the matter, in order for any of us to realize our true potential, we must be willing to embrace all the parts that make us who we are- the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful , what is faulty and what is true. Although some of these qualities may force you to acknowledge your deepest insecurities, fears, and judgments you hold towards others, as well as yourself; by embracing, surrendering and even saying thank you to the qualities which you feel are not so admirable, or worthy of love will ultimately empower you and free you of the guilt, shame and stories which keep you stuck and resistant to your own personal growth and change.
In the spirit of this seemingly small, yet dynamic practice of daily gratitude, I will share some of the things I am grateful for today. Hopefully you will be inspired to take this simple practice into your own life and let the experience speak to your heart and mind.
WHAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR IN THIS MOMENT…
Bellying over with laughter
Seeing people smile
Ability to help others
THE LESSONS I AM GRATEFUL FOR…
Being able to discern what brings me feelings of peace, balance & joy
Knowing that judging others is really about insecurities, or judgments I hold of myself
Realizing the need to control a situation means I’m feeling out of control, or afraid of losing control
Lessons in adolescence regarding self acceptance and how feelings of insecurity and not feeling “good enough” is a lie
Knowing I may not always have the answers
Accepting that I have not always been compassionate and loving toward myself
Understanding that my mind has the ability to get the best of me and when it tries, I will remember my heart is my guide
Knowing resistance stifles dreams
Knowing negativity breeds more negativity
Living by the motto: Kill em’ with kindness no matter what
Knowing no one can sabotage my joy but me
MORE REASONS TO BE GRATEFUL…I AM GRATEFUL FOR…
All of the people who have come and gone in my life-(You are all my teachers)
Not sweating the small stuff and quickly getting over it if I feel the urge to
Understanding that sometimes it’s just about timing
Accepting the ebb and flow of life
Knowing that lying & being deceitful even in the smallest of ways is being something, or someone I AM NOT!
Knowing that dwelling in the past and the future is time wasted in the now….
Knowing my happiness is not dependent upon another
Realizing that loving everyone more than loving myself doesn’t automatically make me a good person or a loving person
Knowing that having a short temper, or intolerance in the presence of ignorance, hate and greed is the EGO’s way of creating more intolerance, ignorance, hate and greed
Finally, I AM GRATEFUL for understanding I have the power to change my life. I ACCEPT and I AM GRATEFUL for all the characteristics which make me uniquely me and I AM GRATEFUL for all the lessons I have learned and continue to learn on this adventure called life.