We all get gratitude…
or do we?
Parents raised us to “Say thank you to (whoever gave you those socks.)” It was a little like the bit about saying you’re sorry. It was well meant. Designed to help us live in a world with less grief from family, friends and strangers. Yet, I think it may have been confusing too. Programming children’s feelings is trick business. When not tempered with some authentic wisdom and lots of compassionate humor it supports the proliferation of therapists and Big Pharma tends to get a bit carried away.
Ok… the Archmage taught me to start by reviewing the definition of the core word(s) involved. This time let’s keep it simple –
Noun: the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.
Now, let’s break it down.
The Three Gratitudes
- For those things that we know and enjoy
- For that which is quiet or hidden
- For those things we’d prefer to deny
Those Things We Find Agreeable
For example, we may be grateful when…
Someone says what you want them to say
They stop talking after the previous
When someone acts the way you want them to act
When we behave as we think we should
When “it” feels good
When we think our government treats us well
When our team wins
When we get to spend good time with those we love/honor/admire Etc
Beautiful day (whatever that is for you)
When TSA is fast and smooth
When the plane lands
When the surgery goes well
When service is “good”
Your new Tesla (Audi, Kia, etc)
The Officer lets you go with a warning
A short line at the DMV
A warning (rather than a ticket)
A ticket (to your favorite venue)
A winning lottery ticket
YOUR big dog
Your examples here
Items of Gratitude That May Elude Us
When we don’t have a headache
When our children don’t call because everything is going well
When we pass the Highway Patrol that we don’t see…while (accidentally) doing the speed limit perfectly
When our pineal or thyroid glands work without a hitch
When we take the next breath, the next heart beat with NO conscious effort
When breathing comes easily
When war is narrowly averted…and we hear nothing of it
When someone stands up for us or otherwise supports us in ways that we will never know
When a bee, scorpion, pit viper, dangerous spider, etc doesn’t sting or bite us
When a loved one gets through it before we even know that there is an it
When that asteroid or comet misses
When the New Years bullet returns to earth having done no harm
The accident that happens behind us
Your examples here
For That Which We THINK We’d Prefer to Deny
Those things that irritate or hurt us
Those things we just plain don’t like
Those people we deem as wrong
Those who we find unlovable
Those who we are certain should not have been born
Especially those people and things that pain us or the ones we love
People who cut us off in traffic
Hitler (current archetypal ‘bad’ guy)
People who don’t share our beliefs in one way or another
THEIR big dog
Anything that ‘messes up’ your world
Your examples here
What we may often do with those things that fall into this last list…
Condemn them or deny them.
But how would it change us if, while not joining them, we relinquish the need to compete with, overpower, or most likely of all deny them? What if we grant them being?
Can we love someone while partially disagreeing with them? (We never COMPLETELY disagree with anyone). Or does everyone have to meet our personal standards for us to find a place for them in the one world we have?
Do our children have to live the lives we select for them, for us to love them? And to the extent that we levy our judgments and approvals, before we can love…how’s that working?
A good Twelve Step Group (and these vary like anything else – but I have attended such meeting houses that have been, in the truest and deepest sense a church and caring community) can illuminate this point. Here people find each other and do that which most of us fail to grasp. And that is or perhaps begins with coming to love those that don’t behave as we (or themselves) would have them behave…and that includes ourselves. The extent to which we cannot love/accept/acknowledge ourselves, our errant family, friends, government, nation, etc…is the extent to which we loose access to benefits beyond our current imagining, while not helping things improve at all.
Want to be a revolutionary? Talk to the people with whom you DON’T agree…and, yes, LISTEN…really listen to them. Ok…I can tell this needs a bit of qualification. Listening is NOT about being able to have your internal bot play back what they just said. Listening is not getting your rebuttal ready as the Other is still talking (because they just said some OMGawd awful stupid thing.) Listening, in this case means hearing it from their point of view, at least this one time. Listening does not mean you will or won’t agree now or later. It means you give even the most heinous character both airtime and benefit. Might be a good idea to not answer right away.
Grant these being. Start by acknowledging how different they are from how we would have them be…and then go the next step and see if you can see that they are remarkably similar to yourself in some way(s). When we arrive at forgiveness (for not being right, like me) we can glimpse who we truly are. As long as we believe that differences of opinion make us or break us as humans…we’ll never truly know ourselves, or, for that matter…what the hell is going on.
Don’t do it for them…do it for you.
ABRAHAM-HICKS: Grateful No Matter What
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Get a notebook or journal.
- Give it a title like “Appreciations” or “My Gratitude Journal”
- Start by writing down, at the end of each day, three things you’re grateful for.
- Increase the number of gratefuls by one each day (or two) until you can do ten with ease.
- Maintain this for at least 21 days.
THE STORY OF OLD LI: (An Ancient Chinese Proverb)
An old man tills the field with his son, one horse and a plow. This, along with his simple home, represents his entire estate.
Yet everyone who meets old Li notices an ever present, if faint, smile that shows through the lined writing of his face.
One day, while plowing with his horse they turn over a rock and a snake is disturbed. Li’s horse is startled too and bolts, heading out into the distance.
Li’s neighbors come to bring their condolences, saying: “Oh poor old Li. You are so unlucky. You’ve lost your only horse. How will you and your son fare? This is a terrible thing.”
Li simply replies– “We’ll see.”
The next day Li and his son plow the field; taking turns pulling the plow. Then, a day later they hear the pounding of hooves and look up to see their horse return with two strong equine friends.
Li’s neighbors come to see the good luck for themselves, saying – “Oh Li, you are the luckiest man we know! Look at how you and your son benefit. The gods love you above all others!”
Li continues his smile and replies – “We’ll see.”
So now Li and his son think to sell one horse to buy another plow and thereby make up for lost time. But while the son rides the new mare to the market (she’s never been ridden before and is quite nervous about this new turn) she rears and drops Li’s son, whose leg is broken in the fall.
Li’s neighbors come to express their condolences, saying: “Poor old Li. He is the most unlucky man we know. You’ve got three horses but your son has broken a leg. How will you fare? This is a terrible thing.”
Li smiles gently and says only – “We’ll see.”
The next day General Teng arrives with a huge retinue of soldiers. He’s headed to the northern border to defend the realm and has come to collect all able bodied young men for the campaign…but alas, Li’s son does not fit the description and the general rides off with several other young men, leaving a road filled with distressed parents.
Li’s neighbors come to see his good luck for themselves, saying – “Oh Li, you are the luckiest man we know! Look at how you and your son benefit. The gods love you above all others!”
That was years ago. To this day Li still greets every day and everyone with a soft smile.