The way home is through living a life of gratitude.
I took this in, while watching Dr. Brené Brown being interviewed by Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. Then, Dr. Brown talked about how living a life of gratitude is a daily practice. It’s something we have to work at and be conscious about.
As I got thinking about what this looks like, I thought about my own life. How do I live a life of gratitude? How am I thankful and grateful, and for what? And the biggie for me is, can I find the good in the bad things in my life? Can I figure out how to be grateful for what most people perceive as bad things that happen in my life?
Starting with some of the biggies: I am blessed and grateful for my family and our life situation. I am grateful to have stability and calm in my life (most of the time). I am grateful for my close friends. I am grateful for the material things in my life. And even more grateful for having experienced a spiritual awakening and having found myself in ways I could never have imagined.
And some of the little things: today I am grateful for rain so my potted plants get a drink. I am grateful for time to myself to reflect and to write. I love to watch our pet guinea pig and to pet her silky fur. I am even grateful for my cool purple insulated cup that I use quite a bit. Right now it’s full of home-made iced tea. After experiencing second and third world countries, I am constantly grateful for reliable electricity, indoor plumbing, refrigeration, and a car that never lets me down.
The challenge has been to learn how to see some things in a different light, so I can be grateful for them, too. When I am trying to make a traffic light before it turns, and sure enough, it turns red just as I get to it, instead of fussing and fuming, these days I try to remember to go to the place of: thank you for stopping me and possibly keeping me out of a car wreck. If a bad driver zooms ahead of me, instead of getting perturbed and wanting to give them the finger, I am thankful that the crazy driver is ahead of me, so when they cause a wreck I’m not in it and I can drive around it.
It has been a very long road, but I am grateful for having a mentally ill mother. Once I was able to move my thought process into a higher realm, I was able to see that she taught me compassion for people with mental illness. I appreciate her for what she was able to accomplish during her long lifetime, especially considering she wasn’t medicated until she was 50 yrs. old. Because of some dysfunctional aspects of our relationship, I was able to hone my empathic abilities.
Another thing that Oprah consistently talks about is her daily prayer. For her, it’s about being used to do God’s work. My prayer is few in words, but huge in meaning.
It is “Thank you.” I thank God, the energy that created us and everything that is, for everything that I have and everything that I am; trusting that even things that are uncomfortable or even painful will be revealed as a benefit to me at some point.
Finding the good in everything is definitely a conscious choice. And making it a practice is a process. What are you grateful for today?