15 Feb 2011, 7:24am
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Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude has saved me many a time from the clutches of melancholy. It’s easy to entertain ourselves with OUR PROBLEMS, even to define our life by them. Most often we don’t know we’re doing it. Negativity exerts a powerful pull on the human mind.

You have only to watch the news or read a newspaper to see what grabs our attention. Chances are it’s not a story guaranteed to lift our spirits.  As we go about our day, some person, place, thing, or situation that’s not acceptable to us similarly grabs our mind. It’s okay to want to change some things. As spiritual teacher Eckard Tolle says, “If you’re stuck in the mud, you want to figure out how to get out of the mud.” What drags us down is a preoccupation with things not yet resolved or not within our power to change. This is where an attitude of gratitude can help. You have nothing to lose by trying it.

Start with your own self. Write down everything you can think of for which you’re grateful.  “I can see, hear, smell, walk, talk, think, tie my shoes… “ These are starting points. If you cannot do one or more of these things, focus on the ones that you are blessed to be able to do.

Now you can extend your inventory to your environment. Do you have places to sit, a roof over your head, food to eat?

We haven’t left the apartment/house yet and we already have a long list, do we not?

Some of us either don’t have, or can remember when we didn’t always have, the basics of daily living. Perhaps we are now, or once were, physically challenged to the edge of our coping skills.

But if we’re alive to read this, we’re breathing and seeing at the very least. And most likely, have a great deal more than that for which to be grateful.

Nature is the next place to which I turn in Gratitude.

I need the blessing of Nature very soon after I arise from my bed. I seek Nature outside my body as well. Whether it’s a single rose in a vase in the house or a spectacular view from a window, it reassures me.  I draw strength from Nature’s intervals of Grace.

Nature isn’t always hospitable to man or beast. It takes back lives and property through fires, floods, storms, earthquakes, mudslides, volcanic eruptions etc. What can we find to be grateful for in that? I’ll leave that to you to contemplate, as each situation is unique in this regard. Even within chaos and uncertainty, an eye toward gratitude can keep you from becoming part of the problem and allow you to carry on.

As we move out in our day, it’s easy to take for granted the miracle of transportation, in whatever form we make use of it.

We sure do notice when it breaks down, don’t we? (As this “girlie” has done from time to time).  It’s an exercise in mindfulness that will pay huge dividends to take time to notice all the things, places, people, and circumstances to which we owe a debt of gratitude.

Think about it, however mundane the instrument whose use we may take for granted, there was a time and a place where such blessings didn’t exist.

Most people can remember a travel or emergency story where a telephone played an essential role. Today’s mobile phones have more capability than the computers that sent a man to the moon! So give it a try. Spend at least part of this day in an attitude of Gratitude. Let me know how it feels!

“Everyday has it’s wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”

Helen Keller