Sunday, August 2, 2015

8/3/15—Finding Gratitude

Like you—like everyone—there are aspects of my life that suck. 

I don't voice these things often for a couple of reasons. The first is because I have the power to change most of the things I would complain about. I'll bet you do, too. Work issues...home have a ton of options, some you probably haven't thought of yet. The question is, are you willing to make the changes or do you just want to complain? Most of the time, people just want to get it off their chest.  

The second reason I don't like to give voice to those things is because I believe that voicing something imbues it with more power...affirms with the universe that it's a problem. And I've found that many of the things I would complain about have a hidden gift within them...usually something I really needed to learn. So complaining does a couple of things. It tells the universe that you don't want that problem (or the gift that goes with it) in your life. And if I'm not focusing on the gift, I may not see it, which means I won't learn the lesson and I will have to learn it another way. And who knows how pleasant or unpleasant that will be?

Anyway, I don't really have any BIG problems in my life. Just the same things everyone complains about...stuff at work, relationships, a difficult life phase I might be going through. But whether we complain or not, we tend to walk through life carrying the mantle of what we don't have, what we're working on having, what we need to work harder on and what's bugging us. Like a checklist of woes that, when resolved, will open the doors to that happiness we've been seeking all along. 

The only problem with that is that there will never be a time everything is perfect enough for us to put our checklist away and bask in happiness. At least not for long. Happiness is something we have to create space for from amidst all the other stuff going on. 

It's easy to get caught up in phases where our mind is focused on what needs fixing and doing. We get caught up in the busy-ness of life by way of trying to bring ourselves closer to happiness. And we never end up looking at all the beauty we've created and give that the same kind of attention as our to-do lists. We miss living in the moment and truly appreciating the fruits of our work. 

I recently had the gift of enough free space in my head that I was spontaneously thrust into overwhelming gratitude for my life. And the sad thing is that I didn't have to wait for an opportune moment to experience it. I can stop and feel gratitude at any time and for any reason. You can, too. 

A few things happen when you focus on gratitude. One is that all that stuff you worry about becomes kind of trivial in comparison to all you have to be grateful for. Another thing that happens is that your energy and mood lighten. And another thing that happens is that you shift from being someone with too much crap on their plate, to being someone who is so incredibly blessed that it's almost unbearable. The more you enumerate the many blessings you have, the more overwhelming it becomes and the more you realize that you're not "cursed" or "given the short end of the stick", but rather you're clearly one of God's favorites. :)

So, as you're going about the business of life this week, remember to stop and think about all the blessings you have. The more you do this, the more blessed it seems you become. All those moments of joy you work so hard to receive are just a thought away, whether you choose to stop and think about them or not. Training ourselves to take that time to stop could be both the easiest and hardest thing to do on the path to finding happiness.