When I was little, the giving of thanks came around the dinner table and at night before we “laid us down to sleep”. As I grew older, I found myself part of a movement to more fully embrace that for which we were thankful. I say movement because it seemed that Gratitude came into the global conscience just as I was becoming conscious of healing from all those wounds we pick up on the way to adulthood. The Practice of Gratitude (although I didn’t realize it in the beginning) feels like it is at the heart of healing.
It is a worthy practice that can feel a little slippery at times. I often wonder how far I can take Gratitude into my life. For example, I find it easy to be Grateful for easy things like the ray of sun that is playing with the crystal bead on my necklace this morning, or the two snuggle cats who found their way into my bed last night and cozied up over my cold feet. That kind of Gratitude is a no brainer…. although still very important.
The challenge with The Practice of Gratitude comes in being Grateful for the difficult parts of life. I think some may argue with me about finding Gratitude in some things, but for me, that is one of the big reasons I think we are here on what some have coined the Earth School to learn. It goes to the core of what Life all about. Are we here just to exist? Perhaps. Is there something more meaningful to our journey? I like to think so.
Going deeper into Gratitude is one way I explore the wringers that come with living. Most recently, while talking to my friend Jon, I discovered that he had witnessed a stranger causing a life threatening self-injury to himself. I will spare you the details. The man, Jon found out later, had taken the life of his own daughter and was attempting to take his own. Jon struggled with what he had seen and why, of all people, he might have been the one to witness it.
As I was talking to Jon, I got a very deep intuition that this man had been deeply disturbed. That might have been evident to some, but for some people they may have just seen what he had done to his daughter and labeled the man as evil. Certainly, I do not excuse his act. That is a given. My interest was in exploring what meaning there may have been in the fact that Jon had witnesses something perhaps more horrific than he ever will in the rest of his days. Why that? Why Jon? My intuition felt like there was meaning in what Jon had seen. I shared my impression with him that this man needed someone to stand witness to his worst day….to hold a kind of sacred space for him….and his daughter. If he was truly disturbed and acting out of that disturbance, then perhaps Jon extended the energy of compassion for him as the man reached down into the dark night of his soul.
Mixed Media Work by Eric Payne
Some may believe the man didn’t deserve compassion. Where, after all, was his compassion for his daughter? That is not mine to say. I felt, that Jon’s compassion for the man in his hour of despair was not in vain. It had meaning and was valid. Any human suffering is more suffering than is necessary. By giving his witness of the man’s suffering meaning, Jon could move past the senselessness of the event and into the heart of healing for himself. He could shift away from his own pain of what he saw and into a Gratitude for how he had served another.
This Thursday is the American Thanksgiving. Many have turned it into a Day of Gratitude. I certainly feel that way for myself. We need more of those.
I would like to encourage you to begin exploring how far you can carry Gratitude into your own life. Is Gratitude your fair weather friend, or can it become the sweetness that makes Life’s bitterness more palatable. That kind of choice is how we create our lives and move away from the idea that we are not just along for the ride.
I would love to hear how you bring meaning to the difficulties in your life. Do you have a Gratitude Practice? Share it with us….or claim a Gratitude. Drop a comment below and join us in the Creativity Tribe Facebook Group to keep the conversation going.
I am Grateful for you. Even if we have never visited before…. whether this is your first visit, one of many, or your last…. I am Grateful for the energy you bring, for the thread that led you here, and for the opportunity to connect.