Thursday, January 8, 2015

It Feels Great(full)

“Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.”

Alfred Painter

Thank you.  Thank you for all that I have.  I have
-       My health
-       A job
-       A place to live
-       People I love
-       People who love me
-       Time to write
-       Time to work on my Purpose
-       Choices
-       The ability to make changes
-       Soft music playing
-       A warm cup of coffee
-       Books
-       Technology to make life nicer, such as electricity, refrigeration, and a computer
-       Some money
-       Warmth
Most of us are very fortunate because we have so much.  We are unfortunate because we often don’t recognize this.   We are the least fortunate when we forget to be grateful.  Gratitude is another way to be present, but, curiously it can help me appreciate the past more.  I’ve mentioned before how simple trick of being grateful for ordinary, everyday things has reminded me of how much good and how many blessings I have had in my life.  Even the bad things can help us to be grateful.    
Once I was very sick, so sick I found myself lying on the floor of my place, barely able to move.  However, the virus left a few hours later and I was good as new.  I was grateful for this of course.  But that night I was even more grateful when, while at work, I noticed a homeless man in the rain.  I thought, “As sick as I was, at least I had a floor to collapse on, and not a sidewalk.  And, as sick as I was, at least I wasn’t sick while outside in the rain.”
The Tao Te Ching says, “What is a good man, but a bad man’s teacher.”  To paraphrase, I would add, “What is a bad man, but a good man’s teacher?”  And, “What is a bad experience, but also a good man’s teacher?”
I am grateful for one more thing – all the “bad experiences that have taught me something when I have just been humble enough and quiet enough to listen and learn.  Yet, again, I realize I have had a far greater number of good experiences than bad ones.  I have had more blessings than banes.  One of the biggest trials I have ever had was the inability to be aware of all the good around me.  Because of this I lost a lot of good moments because I was too busy complaining or allowing my thoughts to be negative or just not realizing how good life can be. 
I still struggle with this trial.  I still forget to be aware of what is really around me.  I still forget to be grateful for my health.  I forget how many options I really have. 
Perhaps focusing on the negative is just easier.  I’m not sure why we do it otherwise.  Perhaps it’s part of our culture.  Perhaps drama gets us more attention than humor.  Perhaps we’re just trying to fit in with everyone else.  Perhaps we haven’t learned gratitude or practiced it as a discipline.    Perhaps we haven’t learned to love ourselves fully.  Yes, there are times when we have legitimate problems, but I don’t think they are equal to the amount of time we spend complaining about them.  I’m not sure why I don’t practice gratitude more often, but it really feels great to feel grateful.  It feels great to Get Started and to Keep Going one more time.  Thank you.