The sickening feeling of ingratitude creeps into my life slowly and inconspicuously. It manifests in subtle ways, like a feeling of offense when the person ahead of me in line takes her sweet time counting pennies before paying the store clerk.
It grows in me as I believe the thoughts that pop into my head: “I don’t deserve this” and “This is a waste of my time.”
Eventually this plague takes root in my heart, where it can be hard to shake. And all of the sudden, every inconvenience becomes a personal affront, which I take very seriously. When I forget to be grateful for the less-than-extraordinary experiences . . . for ALL my experiences, I forget to be grateful, period.
Beauty and goodness are all around me; I just need to choose to see that this is true. Especially during the emergence of shadow material. I aspire to perceive the gift of Divine guidance which is being offered in the experience of discomfort. I am finding the easiest way to acquire and sustain this perspective is to say thank you for the things I don’t think I want . . . the pain, the grief, the anxiety, the reactivity . . . learning to appreciate these are all opportunities for growth and healing.
Bad things do happen; injustice, violence and abuse are real. But how I react when these difficulties manifests before me or within me is correlated to my deepest beliefs about myself and the world.
Am I expecting these “bad” things, even dreading them? Or can I find the good in them, seeing signs of possible redemption even in the worst of circumstances?
What I do in the worst of times reveals who I am all the time. And in every painful or inconvenient time, there is still some good to be found.
Part of the reason I am focusing more on developing my capacity to be “thankful” for the seemingly small things or the difficult things, is that it helps me appreciate the “big” things in life when they do come.
And the other reason that I want to cultivate deeper appreciation for the small and challenging experiences, is that I am coming to realize everything I experience is big, amazing, magnificent. I am waiting less and less for tomorrow, for a better break, for more, for less or for enough, and finally embracing what I am experiencing, right now. Wow! It’s all good!
Give Thanks . . . Suggestion
If you are reading this, you may want to try saying “thank you” with me — for everything.
Say it to your spouse who makes you wait or forgets to close the door or turn off the lights.
Say it to the driver in front of you who moves too slowly.
Say it to your late lunch appointment or the operator who keeps putting you on hold.
Say it to God for every inconvenience that causes you to grow toward accepting what is.
Say “thank you.” Don’t just think it or tell it to yourself. Actually speak the words, and mean them.
Experiment with being grateful for the moments that slow you down, the ones that cause you to take your time. Use these opportunities to appreciate what you already have but otherwise tend to miss.
As you do, see how much better life looks, and actually is, when you approach it with gratitude.