I’m revisiting my favorite topic in this week’s Practitioner’s Corner: Gratitude. It is the single greatest change element in my life. Nothing – no thing - has had the impact on my life that saying, “Thank you,” has. It simply changes everything.
It is hard to see a circumstance or occurrence in my life as unfortunate when I give thanks for it and know that it was not an accident – there is something to learn here. It is hard to get angry or hold a grudge against someone when I give thanks for them and know they are the face of God looking back at me. The simple act of focusing my attention on something that I appreciate and exploring the benefits I receive from the things that happen in the world around me, changes the nature of the things that I attract. It is very, very simple. But it is not always easy.
When I’m curled up on my cozy couch in the mornings sipping hot coffee fixed just the way I like it, surrounded by sweet, cuddly animals snoozing away, it’s pretty easy to be grateful for my blessings. I’m comfortable and relaxed and everything is just the way I want it to be. Life is good and I am grateful. When I’m “on the same page” as someone, it’s easy. We seem to be “on the same wave length”. Life is good and I am grateful. When things seem to flow easily and effortlessly, I am aware of that blessing and I am grateful. But what happens when it isn’t easy and effortless? Where is the blessing in difficulty? Trust me, it is there but it may take a little hunting to find it. The jewel is in the hard teacher’s lesson.
When someone cuts me off in traffic, it may seem a little harder to get to that feeling of gratitude - but it is worth the effort. I don’t need to know the reason someone cut me off – intellectually, it is not likely to make sense. What I need to know is that God is right there – showing up as both of us. There is no right or wrong. Maybe that person needs a little extra love at that moment and the Universe made sure I noticed them when I did because I might have missed them otherwise. I don’t really know the reasons but I figure sending love is always safe and more than appropriate so I send them love and I’m grateful for the chance to have made a connection.
When someone misunderstands me, I’m grateful for the chance to get clear about my messages and communication and send them love. When roadblocks keep popping up in my path, I’m grateful for the chance to examine the route I’ve chosen and bless those roadblocks – they are teachers. When I find myself being annoyed by something or someone, I give thanks for the opportunity to look at my own issues and keep peeling away at that onion that is my accumulation of fears and false beliefs – and send that beautiful messenger love! When something confuses me, I am grateful for the opportunity to get clarity. When I’m disappointed, I’m grateful for the chance to examine my expectations. When I am surprised, I am grateful to look at my intentions. When someone is cross or grumpy with me, I am grateful to examine ways I listen and participate and connect.
So, yes, I am grateful for all the sweetness in my life – the purring kitties, happy dogs, wonderful spouse, my spiritual community, dear friends, good health, prosperity, inspiration and the opportunity to pursue it, sunrises and sunsets and all the miraculous ways that the Universe shows me Love and Joy, Peace, Abundance, Wholeness, Grace and divine, right Order. But I know that sometimes that sweetness shows up as someone cutting me off in traffic or hurting my feelings. The hardest teachers can deliver the best lessons and I am grateful for all of them.
And the amazing thing is (and there is always an amazing thing), the “hard” stuff gets easier when you appreciate it. When being right is not an issue, being cut off in traffic is not an issue. When you see the God in people, it’s hard to be hurt by them. When you open yourself up and listen, it’s hard not to hear the world around you. I invite you to practice saying, “Thank you,” on a regular basis. Give thanks for all the large and small wonders in your life and all the things that bring you Joy and happiness. They will increase.