It’s Easy to be Thankful for the “good things”




In this season of focusing on Gratitude, I find my heart and mind easily gravitate toward all the wonderful blessings I experience regularly.
 
Maybe for you this is just an extension of an already existing gratitude practice.   Typically, when I am asked, “What are you grateful for?” my mind begins to take inventory of everyone I know and everything currently going on in my life. I continue to scan as I look for the highlights… the things on the list that make me happy or bring me joy.
 
But what about all the other things? The “yuck” that we skim over to get the “good stuff?”
 
Can we get grateful for all of that? The struggles, the challenges, the hard things? Can we be thankful for all the things we don’t like about ourselves? For the ways that we feel misunderstood? And even in the worst of our days, can we see the gifts of our suffering and stuckness,  for our illnesses, imbalances and pain?
 
             images                                                           
 This is what I would call: Advanced Gratitude Practice!
 
A gratitude practice of any kind is about shifting focus. The laws of the  say: focus on the positive and it will expand. So we try to avoid looking at what we believe to be negative for fear it will grow and swallow us up.  This only happens if we dwell in the story of it and let it hold us hostage.
 
It is easier to be thankful for all the good… but it takes a particular way of wisdom (which we all have, by the way) to rise up over our lives and look at the things we would rather not see… and begin instead to view them them through a new lens. In truth, this  focus will not create more “bad stuff.”
 
Instead, looking through this new lens creates a radical shift to your life that can:
  • Expand your faith that all is unfolding in a way that could serve  you.
  • Show you you’re stronger and more resilient that you believe.
  • Let you know that love can conquer everything including death.
  • Help you finally get free of feeling like a victim and step into new possibilities.
 
In every moment, as out of control as is may seem, we have a choice in how we interpret it and how we respond to it vs react to it.  This can impact our next actions and our willingness to be vulnerable or even ask for support.
 
There are tragedies beyond reason we must deal with as part of being human and sometimes it is so hard to wrap our heads and hearts around them. There seems to be no rationale to the randomness of why “bad things happen to good people” as is said. I spent time in a hospital oncology ward this past weekend visiting a family member. My holistic practitioner head was going wild with judgment… but when I could take a step back, observe and speak to some of the patients I could see beyond.
 
One man told us how he was back in the hospital after four years remission with a reoccurrence of his cancer. He said he had been avoiding getting into a serious relationship with a woman because of his fear of exactly this happening. I understood his fear and could see how it held him back from one of the very things that might help him most. How am I like that?
 
I saw another woman doing laps with her IV pole around the hallways. I saw her hugging one of the nurses and telling her- when this is all over, I am coming back here to volunteer.  I thought… no matter what, she was already healed. Where could I be more like that?
 
Hopefulness, making meaning, my personal evolution, being of service, loving myself and others…. I don’t know about you, but this is what helps me get up in the morning and make sense of my day. It gives me a greater sense of peace.
 
There is an old spiritual song based on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi- Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin With Me.  If we seek to be instruments of peace and healing on this planet…. it has to begin within each of us.
 
Here are some questions to help you make the shift in additional to the Master Quantum Question:  Why is this Happening To Me vs. How is this Happening for Me?
  • How is this person or circumstance my teacher?
  • What am I not seeing that I am meant to see?
  • What do I need to let go of in order to be free?
  • What do I need to hold on to?
  • Am I standing in my power and my integrity?
  • What am I afraid of will happen if I let go of this (this circumstance, this person, this story,  this feeling. etc.)?
  • How can I pour love on it ?
  • What is truth vs fiction?
  • How can I be gentler with myself in this situation?
  • What is a radical act of self-love or self care I can do today?
     

When others are Involved:

  • What is the other person’s main concern, fear, worry?
  • How is the other person trying to make sense of it, get love, get what they need?
  • Would I rather be right or in relationship?

 

So, I choose to be thankful these days for the deepest sorrows and challenges of my life. They teach me daily where I am strong and where I still need to learn and grow and do some work. They teach me that as alone as I may feel,  I am never truly alone… I am reslilient and have cultivated the ability to ask for help which often arises in the most unlikely of places…

In the tearing down eventually there is more light that can shine through.. and the ability for the human spirit to always resurrect itself from the ashes no matter how broken we may feel.  What does not change in the midst of this is that you continue to be whole as impossible and implausible as that may seem.

Whether you observe Thanksgiving as a holiday or not where you live, consider blessing something that would otherwise irritate the stuffing out of you.  Before you step away from something you find difficult to “be with,”  try stepping toward it even if for a moment and say “thank you.” Let me see what I am meant to see or  learn about myself through the mirror of what is being shown to me.


Our continued openness, ability to learn, grow and transcend. Now, that is something for which to be truly thankful.

Going Quantum With You—

Marilena

 

PS. Here is an extra credit question for today:

List 10 ways you are thankful for yourself today!