[Classic post from 8-31-16]
Have you ever been overcome with a deep feeling of gratitude by thinking about something, reading something, listening to something, or watching something that it brings you to tears; to your knees, so to speak? I have felt this so many times. When it happens, it is often a surprise. I didn’t expect it, but I am so loving those few moments or minutes. I find myself in total appreciation of someone, or several for that experience, and what value they bestowed upon me.
I remember vividly, driving on the Grapevine between Bakersfield CA and the greater Los Angeles area many years ago, when as I was listening to a song, I just began crying, sobbing with joy and appreciation. It has happened when I’m reading something, listening to an audiobook, watching a movie, along with many other external stimuli, and it has also happened by simply thinking a thought, or recalling a memory. It just happened again yesterday as I read an inspirational message. There is nothing quite like that experience. It is exhilarating, and it is also draining, but a good draining, as if it is releasing toxins from within or something.
The word, gratitude, is a well-worn buzzword of the last twenty years or so, with hundreds, perhaps even thousands of books on that subject. So, generally, I prefer the word, appreciation instead because it is more descriptive. But, where I like to use the word, gratitude, is as a word that describes a myriad of thanks-giving ways, thinking and demonstrating appreciation, feeling and showing love, and much more. It is a great ‘catch-all’ word, that when used with that in mind, contains all manner of good feelings.
Recently, I took a previous Daily Inspiration and expanded it to a somewhat longer article, with a long title: To Say That Gratitude Has Changed My Life Is So Thin–Truly, It Has TRANSFORMED My Life! This is true. Gratitude has transformed my life. It has helped transform me from someone who took so many things for granted, to someone who notices with all my senses, and I find myself wherever I go in almost constant gratitude.
Oh, as many of us may do, I’ve held gratitude in the past for certain things, special events, special people. That’s easy. But it isn’t life transforming. The difference for me is that I began taking to heart what Paul said in the Bible in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I first read that in 1996, and it touched me and I began to allow that idea in, and little by little, I found that it was possible to live like that, and so I began allowing it to be a part of me.
I began to ask, what about this can I appreciate? I would especially ask this if something I was noticing was not pleasant, or not to my immediate liking. Is there anything to appreciate in an ugly situation? Yes. How about the worst of so-called disasters? Absolutely. We only need turn toward what can be appreciated in that, or in other words, change our focus. It might be like in a movie where they pan out, or back away from a scene and now the scene we previously saw is a much smaller thing relative to all that surrounds it. A bigger picture, if you will. That changes the entire view of the event. It’s just a matter of what you want to see.
I’ve shared this bit from Abraham, Esther Hicks that I have on my wall to better explain about the last line in the last paragraph: “Today, no matter where I’m going and no matter what I am doing, it is my dominant intent to see that which I am wanting to see.” What do I want to see? I want to see beauty, peace, love, joy, empowerment, freedom, wonder, awe, and to appreciate things, other people, the air that surrounds us all, the sounds of the day and time and location, the smells. I want my senses to be alive and to be grateful for all of it; grateful for living, for being alive, for being a creation and a creator, a student and a teacher, a lover and a friend.
As with patience, gratitude is a practice. As I practice, I find more and more and more to be grateful for, as I find more opportunities to enjoy patience. It probably sounds funny to say that I enjoy being patient, but that is what happens when it becomes a practice. Gratitude is exactly the same in that as I am grateful, I find so much more to be grateful for. And, as that has taken hold, and I’ve turned it into a practice, it has transformed my life, which affects all those I touch in some delightful way.
My Life Is Transformed, One Blessing At A Time.
Spread Some Joy Today–by practicing your joy and turning your joy into a practice.