The world is experiencing some interesting times. With the current economic situation and unemployment on the rise, I know many are feeling the repercussions and others are fearful of what's to come.
Add to this your typical, everyday concerns, like not making enough money or not having the house you want or carrying around that extra 20 lbs., I can understand why a person might be having some challenges getting into the Thanksgiving spirit.
As your coach, I am here to tell you that when things are looking gloomy, not only is it a good idea to seek out moments of gratitude, I offer that it is a critical practice for those of you who are seeking a better today and a joyful life.
Why be Grateful?
I do not think I could say it any better than this quote from "Simple Abundance" author, Sarah Ban Breathnach.
"Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend... when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present -- love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure -- the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth."
Ahhhhhhh. Sounds nice doesn't it?!
At any moment there are these two worlds available to us; one where there is joy and beauty and soooo many things to be grateful for, and one wrought with lack and resentment, fear and disappointment. Of course, these represent the exact same world just from two different perspectives and the good thing is, that if we have learned anything through our time together, it is that we have a choice about what perspective we choose.
Gratitude Reality Check
Being grateful when things feel uncomfortable or just downright miserable can feel difficult at first, but, if for a moment, you will put aside your concerns and your complaints and look at what you have, I suspect that you will find gratitude just around the corner.
First of all, if you are reading this on your computer, you have a roof over your head, power, and yes even internet access. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are one of us who is more likely to feel a need to cut back on our food intake rather than wondering where our next meal is coming from. Chances are you are in the top 3 or 4% of the world population regarding quality of life and health, and that is no small thing.
So if you are still not feeling grateful yet, it's time to bring out the big guns. I would like to extend my gratitude to the airplane.
Let's face it. An airplane is a miracle. An airplane is such a common thing, and yet, if you gave me all the raw supplies and a million years I don't think I could build one.
That people know how to make rock into metal, sand into glass, know the laws of physics and all the other stuff that I do not even know I don't know about the process, and can put it together and make 1000's of lbs of materials and people fly through the air, is amazing.
The computer I am writing on, same thing. That it exists and I get to use it is nothing less than amazing. No less amazing is the chair I am sitting on or the clothes I am wearing.
And then we have the natural world. How about how everything from a tree to a rock to water to you and me breaks down into the same basic materials - protons and neutrons (amazing), the pure unfathomable vastness of space (awe-inspiring), the wonder of the inner workings of our own bodies (miind-blowing).
Come on! I mean, this stuff is mind-blowingly, amazingly, awe-inspiring and this is the stuff our life is made of!
Just the other day I was thinking about silk. "So a worm makes this? Really?! A worm makes something that they make into thread and then a shirt or a scarf? " That is AMAZING! and totally worthy of my gratitude!
Gratitude to the worm, to the people who spin the thread, make the material, dye it, design the garment, sew it, ship it and sell it! THANK YOU WORM!
Think about it folks. The world is an amazing place. The wonders are uncountable in any normal lifetime, surely you and I can find enough to appreciate to spend one day being grateful!
Find the Gratitude and Open Up to the Joy of Life.
Take time over the next two days to appreciate the world and your life. Look through the eyes of gratitude and you will be amazed at how wondrous your world is and how much you have to be thankful for.
Your invitation: For today, tomorrow and the rest of your life, observe and approach the world with the eyes of someone who is grateful.
Here is the beginning of my list to get us started.
- My husband just walked in and said "Oh my gosh!!! I can see your epidermis!"
- Lisa at Inspiral for always making me feel loved
- Joan and Tonetta for never letting me fall
- The basil that is growing on the windowsill
- Sundays on the couch in fuzzy blankets
- My mother and sister for loving me and always being there to listen, always
- My cats for being
- That somewhere along the way I fell in love with the seasons
- Great books, bookstores and the library
- The unfolding of my work and the quieting of my mind.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
If you start to open to the world around you and all that there is to appreciate, you will soon find that you can fill hours, if not days, with the momentary acknowledgement of small and large delights. And the best thing is, that while you are intentionally looking for gratitude, you just might accidentally fall in love with your life.
And everyone knows, that is when things start to get REALLY exciting!
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