Yesterday I wrote out 4 life lessons that I have been learning recently. With the grief of friends, the unexpected happening in my own family, and the personal changes I have felt recently, they are sobering, hard lessons that must be earned. But, they are not the only lessons.
You will notice that the images I share in these life lessons come from Zen Mama, whom you can follow on Facebook and receive yourself, if you so desire. 😉
Today my life lesson is about gratitude. In the midst of hardship and pain, it is sometimes very difficult to see things with the eyes of gratitude. It can seem dishonoring to look at loss and choose to say, “I am grateful for . . .” and there are times where being raw and open about the hurt is the absolute best way to handle a situation. Coming back to a heart of gratitude, appreciation, thankfulness and love is also part of the process of healing. I am learning that. I am learning how to let myself enjoy the things that bring me joy – the Saturday Farmer’s Market, the wild woods, the weekend adventures, the food, friends and drinks – even as there are hard things happening simultaneously.
We, as humans, are actually capable and permitted to feel the whole spectrum of emotions that are available to us. We are permitted to feel joy at the sight of someone we love as well as sadness when we hear of loss. We are permitted to feel brave as we realize things about ourselves as well as feel sorrowful as we look on past decisions and come to terms with life’s events. We are permitted to sit in silence and wonder how the future will turn out as well as sit in wonder and feel the deep gratitude for the lessons we are learning.
I am learning the place of gratitude in my life and learning that gratitude is what empowers grace – both for myself and for others. I am learning that gratitude is what inspires love. I am learning that gratitude is a powerful opposition to fear and a beautiful response to failure. In gratitude we begin to find peace and hopefulness and open our hearts to a world that is there for us to enjoy.
There is a difference between gratitude and thankfulness. With gratitude there is a, “Readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” It is an active feeling, not a passive feeling. It is a catalyst to giving good back into the world and back to the people for whom we are grateful. It is not just a form of receiving from others, it is a desire to reveal and give back to that which has given us so much.
My desire as I move forward is to become someone who is more grateful and more open to showing that gratefulness to those around me. I have so many people that I am grateful for and so many experiences that I am grateful for. May I learn to give back and continue the cycle of goodness.