“Mardi, you are spending too much of your time focused on “what isn’t” and way too little time & energy appreciating ‘what is’ –  you know, all that you are and all that you have.”

This thought popped into my mind one night — I’d recently been thinking of writing a blog about gratitude. This message was not consciously invited – definitely unexpected –and most certainly needed. I knew it was a gift from God/Source, and I’d best pay attention. Little did I know at the time, a giant tsunami was heading my way, about to disrupt my ways of viewing my life. This event occurred many months ago, and I then got bogged down with my blog. There was a lot to look at, learn and heal before I could write about gratitude  with integrity.

I admit I was also bogged down by my reticence to share with you what I had to admit and learn about myself . Yet share I must, for I know my lessons are not unique to me and might have an impact on your life as well.

So, what does it truly mean — this state of being we label gratitude or appreciation?

*Appreciate, esteem, prize, value simply holding something in high regard.
*To appreciate is to exercise wise judgment, delicate perception, and keen insight in realizing the worth of something.

What if gratitude means more than just appreciating the good stuff?

I considered myself a spiritually aware person. Whenever I heard the word gratitude, which is frequently these days, I’d think to myself, “of course I live in gratitude. Isn’t that a given a natural state for someone like me?”

Was it really my natural state?

Time for some honest soul-searching for truth — this wasn’t easy and what I saw didn’t look pretty. My search revealed my gratitude quotient was quite low. Sure, I felt gratitude for what I considered blessings — but that gratitude almost felt like a kind of “dodged a bullet grateful.” Was I deeply feeling gratitude for blessings – or was I just paying lip service to feeling gratitude?

What about the ungrateful “my life should have been different” attitude I noticed I’d been carrying for much of my life? This takes me back to the message I had received about my lack of appreciation? This attitude was nothing new.

I looked back through my life, starting when I was a child — and being honest — I had to admit that a part of me had often thought I should have more, life should be different – and I was resentful when it wasn’t. I also observed that I wasn’t necessarily filled with deep feelings of appreciation when I did have more.

Was this the depth of what I needed to embrace – or was there more? The only way to find out was to go deeper.

3 big questions arose in my mind:

Is gratitude meant to be only for the good happenings in my life?

When what I consider negative events happen am I just a victim of circumstance?

Who is responsible for causing for the positive and who gets the credit for my negative experiences?

My search revealed a lot of resistance – it took months for me to let go and be willing to dive deep enough for me to see clearly there was more that I needed to learn about gratitude. As I excavated and explored my life, it eventually became clear that it is all me – I am the one who is responsible for it all. I am not a victim of any force outside of me.  Throughout my life it has been my self-limiting, negative thoughts and beliefs that attracted the events of my life that I have judged as wrong and “shouldn’t have happened.”

Wait a minute! Didn’t I write the book, “Who’s Pulling My Strings?” about the events in our lives being created by our thoughts – that everything that happens in our outside world is a mirror for the thoughts and beliefs in our mind? How could I have become so complacent and forgotten truth?

Yes, a lot of my limiting beliefs did come from early childhood programming and conditioning. It was up to me to look in the mirror, to see this clearly and put myself in the position of making new choices.

I picked up my book and started reading it again. I was shocked – it is inspired and brilliant! If you haven’t yet read it I recommend you do. Everything I needed to know and embrace was within its pages. As I read I was reminded that it may just be the painful events in my life — and your life — that deserve the deepest level of gratitude. Without them it wouldn’t be possible for me to be aware of the beliefs and thoughts that prohibit me from living the free and happy life I desire.

Here is what I am learning and practicing on this leg of my journey:

Gratitude is the Supreme Spiritual Practice

When I live and breathe every breath with the energy of gratitude, miracles tend to appear.

-My heart is open
-I am receptive
-I am in trust
-I know I am in perfect safety

Life feels Good!

After a lifetime of reacting with judgement to life events, it remains for me an ever present spiritual practice to shift from judgment to gratitude.  I am happy to report that with the shift to gratitude in every moment, miracles are appearing!

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