It is New Year Eve, and I am sure that many people are remembering the past year and looking forward to 2016. When we review the past, we need to do so with a sense of gratitude and never regret. Whenever we remember the past, we need to look for the lessons we learned when we got something we did not want. When we experience negative emotions with memories, we actually reinforce the pain or trauma those memories may bring. When we view events with a sense of gratitude we can view it as a positive experience.
For many years I walked around with a sense of impending doom. I could not verbalize where my anxiety was coming from; I only knew that I was always stressed and afraid of the future. I was afraid that I would do something wrong even though there was no evidence that I would do so. I thought I was happy, yet the reality was I was experiencing a low-grade anxiety.
I started to contemplate why I felt fear. Fear normally occurs when we are faced with losing something we have or we won’t get what we want. Being a trial lawyer, winning and losing meant more than personal loss, it affected my livelihood, my self-esteem, my reputation and my clients. The pressure was definitely on. What I finally discovered that this was only going on between my ears and the fear was an illusion.
As I traveled the road of happy destiny, I continued to have lessons. There are two kinds of teacher: (1) the teachers who teach us how to be; and, (2) the teachers who teach us how not to be. Everyone is our teacher, they have come into our life to help us improve our experience. Finally in the spring of this last year I ended a particularly painful relationship with someone that obviously came to this planet to wake me up. For some reason I get my lessons hard and dirty, I suppose I don’t pay enough attention otherwise.
After the end of this relationship, I decided that I was going to learn how to love myself. I focused on being grateful for everything I had experienced, no matter how much emotional pain I may have experienced from the lesson. There is a great difference between forgiveness and gratitude. You don’t have to forgive anyone if you are grateful for all that happens in your life. So the more I was grateful, the less it hurt. It is easy to be grateful when we get what we want, it is a much bigger challenge when we are not getting what we want. I let go of the wanting, and simply committed to appreciating everything. My life changed drastically.
The one thing I have noticed in my life is that when I finally recognize the lesson, traumatic events cease to occur. However, until I recognize the lesson, the events will continue to occur. When I learned the lesson of being grateful, all of the circumstances of my life that were causing me pain changed. When we change our minds and our attitudes what we experience changes. If there is any lesson I have learned from this past year, it is to see the blessing in everything.
I hear all of the time that we have to let go of attachment, desires and resentments. This is the Buddhist view of the world. To tell you the truth, I don’t really understand what that means other than to stop thinking about something. However, I do understand what it means to be grateful for something. When I decide to be grateful for something, the burdens are lifted from my shoulders; I feel lighter and more loving. The greatest and only prayer we need to say is “Thank You”.
So for this New Year, I intend to be grateful for everything that happens. I can move on from the events that formerly wreaked havoc in my life. When you are grateful for everything, and leave the past behind, you really don’t need any New Year Resolutions. Perhaps we can enjoy what we get more, and be more grateful, especially for the events that teach us how to be more loving, more aware and more conscious. Happiness is closely connected to gratitude. It is impossible to be happy without gratitude. So I can say Happy New Year, and have a Grateful New Year!