With all that’s happening right now in the world, I’m actually finding it easier to feel grateful for what I have. This good, since gratitude is something I use to lift my spirits and optimism.
Frequently, during my meditations, I envision my negative feelings, habits, and beliefs, as gems, hidden in the dark. Sometimes, I envision a friendly group of light-beings with a spray bottles of love, misting me with unconditional LOVE.
Always, during these meditations, I feel a sense of gratitude for my dark places. I shift into a new perception of the deeper meaning of my feelings and habits. Afterwards, I often notice a change in my behavior and life experience.
What I noticed recently, was an ability for me to feel gratitude for some of my ‘faults’ but not others. In other words, I could easily send unconditional love to some of my dark places, but not others. I found myself automatically justifying my negative judgement of certain behaviors or habits, while easily forgiving others. This new perception is now helping me let go of crusty, old self-judgements I took for granted.
And, yeah, okay, some things in life really suck. And it’s not that I want to bury things, or pretend everything’s okay when it’s not (been there, done that, doesn’t work.) Rather, I believe that it’s important to first acknowledge the pain, and then to find gratitude.
This is not a head-thing. It’s not a matter of deciding to be grateful and waiting for it to happen. It’s not a matter of pretending to be grateful. It’s not about ‘shoulding’ yourself to be grateful.
This is about finding gratitude. Finding hidden gems in dark places. Going on a treasure hunt right smack in the middle of the places you’d much rather avoid.
Here are some questions that will assist you in finding gratitude in the dark:
- PHYSICAL PAIN OR ILLNESS – When I found gratitude for my own illnesses and heart surgeries, I was able to see how they had enabled me to deepen my spirituality. From my physical pain, I was able to learn what I needed to heal emotionally. In addition, I met wonderful people, learned how to receive love, got really healthy, and on and on and on.
Helpful Questions: What is this illness/pain telling me? What am I learning that will help enhance my life? What enjoyable experiences am I having as a result of this illness?
- PERSONAL QUALITIES — My sensitivity always seemed to be a weakness. I was prone to feeling hurt and misunderstood. I was constantly being worried about other people’s feelings and opinions. When I began to find gratitude for my sensitivity I saw all of its incredible qualities: Deep understanding for my clients, strong intuition, compassion for humankind, and so much more. This gratitude helped me let go of so much of the pain.
Helpful Questions: How is this quality helping me be the person I want to be? How did this quality help me navigate a difficult time? How can this quality help me understand myself more deeply?
- CURRENT LIFE SITUATIONS: It’s can be really tough to feel grateful for tough times. I’ve found however, that it’s my gratitude that helps shift my situation. For example, by feeling grateful for ‘lean times’ I can see all the ways in which I am not a victim, and how I can actually use the situation to strengthen myself and learn new helpful habits and skills.
Helpful Questions: How is this situation helping me change what needs to change? How is this situation deepening my spirituality or inner strength? How is this situation teaching me something valuable for my future?
- CURRENT GLOBAL SITUATIONS: Okay, sometimes it might feel downright impossible to feel grateful for a dictator, an environmental disaster, human rights violations, or political disarray. Without condoning, or excusing anything about what seems unacceptable, you can find gratitude for what happens as a result. For example, finding gratitude for new revelations, new innovations, grassroots efforts, or a deeper understanding of the human condition. Despite my own upset over the current political climate in the USA, I am grateful for my growing ability to discern what’s truly valuable to me, and to speak out more vocally.
Helpful Questions: How is this situation causing positive ripple effects? How could this situation lead to new innovations? How has my awareness changed as a result of this situation? What can I do to help?
Experiment with gratitude in unlikely places.
In Love and Gratitude,
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