Thursday, June 14, 2012
Gratitude Is The Key
I always thought gratitude was something you showed after someone had done something nice for you. I was taught it was polite to show your appreciation by saying, "Thank You". It was really in recent years that I started to understand what gratitude really meant. That it was much bigger than an expected "Thanks". It is really a state of being, noticing that there are things all around you to be grateful for. Unfortunately I think most of us, me included, tend to focus more on what we are not happy with. It is likely however that if you start focusing on the things you are thankful for, you will get more to be grateful for.
It was when I picked up a copy of Conversations with God, An Uncommon Dialogue: Living in the World with Honesty, Courage, and Love , by Neale Donald Walsch, that I really got a different perspective on gratitude. In this book God explains to Neale that it is important to be grateful for what you have, before you can see that you have received it. He is saying that we all have everything, it's just a matter of allowing it. I know, a little complicated when you don't feel things are going well. So if for instance you desire the perfect mate, you would say, "Thank You God for the perfect partner I now have." You say it as if you already have it. Sounds crazy right? But doesn't this feel better than saying, "Thanks a lot for all my aches and pains, not to mention all the grief in my life."
A couple of years ago I actually started writing every day, at least three pages worth of "Thank You God for the wonderful trip to Disney World with my family." We couldn't afford the trip but really wanted to go again. I tried to just have faith that some how this would happen. And last year my dad took us there for vacation! I have used this for other people as well, my son's teacher, who is very special to us has breast cancer. So I will write, "Thank You God for Stephanie's complete, miraculous healing." As I'm writing I feel empowered and hopeful. We can get into tough situations with negative thoughts and thinking, right? So why not try adding a powerful, positive thought and see what happens.
Please know that I am not without my struggles. I have probably written "Thank You God for the perfect health I am now experiencing." a billion and a half times while the tears streaming down my face soaked the pages. But I have come a long way from where I once was and it really does make me feel better writing those words.
Sometimes we all need a little reminder to be grateful; you may have heard of "gratitude rocks." Just find a stone that you like or a small object that is special to you and carry it around in your pocket. Each time you feel the rock, even if it's just when you put it in your pocket and take it out. Hold it for a moment and say something you are grateful for.
My gratitude object is a key that I got from the Ace Hardware store in Forks, WA. I called the store and asked if they could mail these to me, since I wouldn't be getting there for a while. Speaking of gratitude, I would like to say a big "Thank You" to Chris who helped me with this. He was very kind and generous with his help. Forks is the setting of my favorite book, Twilight. Chris's kindness and the fact that the key comes from a place I hope to visit one day, give my key an extra special kick. I engraved one side of the key with "Love" and the other with "Gratitude". It is now hanging on my Volvo (my dream car) key chain where I see it every day. I gave one to each of my kids, my gal pals, Christine, Deirdre and Tamar and a few other Twilight buddies.
The thing I am most grateful for, is that I have a few great friends, my kids and husband, and even though I am not perfect, they love me anyway. "Thanks guys."
What are you thankful for? Please share.