My mom asked me to write more on the topic of gratitude, and I am happy to do that, because it is my favorite practice. She specifically mentioned something that I have taped on my refrigerator, which some of you may have seen. I'm not looking at it right now, so I'll have to paraphrase: "I am grateful for the chores that need doing; it means that I have a home. I am grateful for the piles of laundry that I never seem to finish; it means that my loved ones are close by. I am grateful for the big heating bills; it means that I get to be warm. I am grateful for the parking spot that I find at the far end of the lot; it means that I am healthy enough to walk." There are quite a few more.
I love this! Mom must have, too, because she remembered it from the last time she visited. So much of the reality that we experience is dictated by the way we choose to think about what is happening to us. I would even go further to say that it's not the situation, but how we label the situation, that gives rise to how we feel, how we react, and how we ultimately perceive our experience. It's not so much about noticing and being grateful for the big, in-your-face things that happen, although that's important, too. It's more about recognizing the small things that grace us quietly and often go unnoticed.
We manifest in our lives that which we put the most attention on. Beginning to become more aware of how we label situations gives us many opportunities to choose to focus on the good. As human beings, we tend to find what we're looking for. We get what we expect. If my big heating bill causes me to lament over greedy utility companies and dishonest political practices, I validate greed and dishonesty. The more I validate them, the more I will find. I'm not saying that these things don't exist in our world, but it doesn't really help to dwell on them. If there is something that needs changing in our world and we feel compelled to act toward that change, we are proactively working for good. If we do not feel compelled to act, we can let it go and focus our attention on some other good.
I always thought it would be a wonderful idea to create a news network, maybe just starting locally, that reported only positive news, acts of kindness, milestones, all of the phenomenal things that people do every day that usually go unnoticed. What if we validated these things? This probably sounds very pollyanna-ish to some, but what might happen if there was a channel we could tune in to that acknowledged all of the good that happens in the world? It might help move our collective reality from one of fear to one of trust, and love. It's all in what we choose to focus on. I think this is a great idea, and if someone wants to take it and run with it, I would be grateful! If it's already happening somewhere, please let me know because I want to support it.
How miraculous, this game of life! I am struck sometimes by the unspeakable beauty and perfection of it. If we remembered always that each thought, each word is designing our future, individually and collectively, we would be so much more mindful of what we are choosing to express. We would be so much more deliberate about what we hold true in any given moment.
Like happiness, we can cultivate gratitude. We can choose to have eyes that seek the good in things big and small. Choosing to live in gratitude is how we create heaven on earth.
May this tool be a blessing. . .