Having appreciation for what is showing up or what has shown up is not always easy. Practicing gratitude is something I’m getting a lot better at. I do know that when I’m able to shift into gratitude for what is, what does show up after is even better. This month we are reminded of the concept of gratitude because of the holiday of Thanksgiving.
But what happens when we forget?
I know that when I’m forgetting to appreciate what is, I’m focusing more on what is not. I get stuck in my head thinking, “If only this would happen.” Or “I wish that would’ve happened instead.” Or “Why couldn’t they have responded this way?” Those thoughts then catapult me further into frustration and stress. And then, there are those moments when I think about how I
should’ve been better. In all those cases, I’m focusing on what is lacking.
A mindset that focuses on lack blocks abundance and prosperity. A grateful mindset supports abundance and prosperity. And yet, my little complaining mind forgets that. When I’m stuck in my head complaining about something, thinking of something I can be grateful for helps to shift me out of that sticky energy.
Imagine what would happen to us energetically if everyone we met, expressed appreciation to us. How would that feel? Imagine what would happen if we did the same to all those we met. When you think about someone in your life that everyone likes to be around, what is the one thing that stands out? I would bet that they are regularly expressing gratitude to those around them or that they have a habit of appreciating whatever is happening.
Imagine what would happen to us energetically if we were grateful for anything and everything that showed up in our life.
The first step towards cultivating an attitude of gratitude is acceptance. When we accept what is showing up it makes it easier to find the things that we can be grateful for. When we don’t accept what is happening, we go into resistance and that leads to complaint, comparison, and closing our hearts.
Last week I fostered a dog. Her name was Bitsy. Originally, I thought that I would keep her. At first, I felt frustrated because she needed ALL of my attention. It didn’t matter whether I was cleaning my apartment, working on the computer, or taking a shower, if she didn’t get 100% of my attention, she would wander off and pee or poop in my apartment. It wouldn’t matter of we had just been outside or that I had just played with her. I focused on what I was grateful for. She was a cuddle bug and she slept through the night. She was easy to train to sit for a treat. As the week went on, I realized that she needed a different home environment. I noticed how she lit up whenever any other dog would be around. I had to start by accepting how she was showing up. Once I did, I looked at what I needed, an older, mellow dog, and what she needed, a home with lots of activity. In my mind, I saw her living with a family with kids that had another dog and a fenced in back yard.
Of course, I had to first make myself feel guilty for not being able to make it work. But accepting her needs would mean that I was overlooking mine. And that would only cause further frustration. Once I posted her pictures and a video on Face Book, her forever home showed up less than 4 hours later. It was a home with 2 kids, another dog, and a fenced in back yard. The woman that called had once had a smaller dog and was familiar with what Bitsy would need. She brought her other dog over so that both dogs could meet and worked with that dog by putting her into different commands and introducing them. I could see the absolute joy on her face and knew that her situation was a better fit for Bitsy.
That night she sent me a picture of Bitsy sleeping soundly next to the other dog on a bed. I started crying tears of joy and the only thing I felt was gratitude. That would not have happened if I tried to make it work for Bitsy and me.
Appreciation for what is includes being able to accept how everyone in the situation is feeling. Are everyone’s needs being met? In this case, by being honest with myself, I came to see that I wasn’t giving up, I was making a choice that was best for both of us. And that was what I was grateful for.
Being grateful has layers. It includes acceptance, self-acceptance, and self-love. The truth is, that during this holiday season, whether we are with family, friends, or out in public, focusing on gratitude will help with any crankiness we may be feeling.
Here are 3 easy questions that can support you with this:
1. What am I not accepting in this moment?
2. How can I accept what is?
3. What can I be grateful for in this moment?
Appreciating what is showing up, isn’t always easy. But, knowing that the benefits of abundance and prosperity that accompany an attitude of gratitude, what do you really have to lose? Except your own misery? Let that sink in…I think I heard a mic drop somewhere.
The photo I used for this blog is from the oracle deck that I co-created. This deck is a portable spiritual tool that can be used to practice a different spiritual quality each day. Choose a card to see which quality you are being prompted to embody. The cards come with a guidebook that offers food for thought as well as a prayer for each quality. It’s a perfect holiday gift for yourself and others! All orders are sent out within 1-3 business days of receiving the order. If you would like to order a deck for yourself, click on the button below: