Gratitude

WITH THE THEME OF “GRATITUDE,” it is hard to find something of value to say that hasn’t been said before. After all, aren’t most of us raised with the value of Gratitude instilled in us?

Or are we?

Certainly, as a child, I was raised to say “Thank you” and “I appreciate it” and other phrases, but I’m not sure I really got the core value of those words beyond the fact it was polite to say them. What I have come to realize is that being truly grateful requires much more than just being polite. It requires humility, understanding, acceptance, receptivity, and surrender.

Let me elaborate a bit. I have a dear friend who studied with a Qi Gong master who, when a student would complain of difficulty in his or her life, would respond, “GOOD!” This response would startle the complainer and the Master would only say “Good! This is a chance for learning” (or “for growth” or “for change”). The Master was aware that even life’s challenges are to be welcomed into our lives and we are to give thanks for them, for without them there is no movement forward, no chance for change or growth.

Ah, be thankful for challenges? I can hear you out there now saying, NO WAY! This guy did that to me and this gal did that to me and then my boss said such and so … our litany can go on and on. How different it would be in this world if we could say instead, “This guy did that to me and this is what I learned about myself.” Or “My boss said such and so and I knew I had to make some changes.”

What I have come to know is that by being grateful for even the tough times, I am able to process those times more quickly, to move through and out more easily. It is like realizing that the shadow can’t exist without the light and the light is too intense without the shadow. They become one and the same, playing off each other, making each other into the best they can be. It is the yin and yang of existence, the give and take.

There is simple understanding here of the Universal Law of Gratitude. If we can find reasons to be grateful even in the face of overwhelming woes, we raise our vibration, and that of those around us.

Years ago I read The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom. It was about a Dutch woman who was sent along with her family to aNazi Death Camp for helping Jews escape Europe during WWII. In it she talks about how she taught the people living in her barracks to be thankful for the fleas they were all infested with because the soldiers would not search their “beds,” thus ensuring the safety of the tiny Bible one of them had somehow snuck into the barracks. They all found great solace from reading it at night to each other so, thanks to the fleas, they were left alone by the soldiers.

There are several other books about WWII that speak to this level of gratitude, which to me is the highest form of it. It is easy to be grateful for a bonus check, a beautiful day, a new baby, a new love. But it is not so easy to be grateful for fleas.

How wonderful it is if we can learn to find things to be grateful for in adverse situations, where we learn to say “GOOD!” when challenges come, knowing there is a learning at hand.

With gratitude comes relief and peace, a reconnection to our essence and a realignment with Spirit.

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