Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Finding Gratitude

Many times we find it difficult to experience the emotion of gratitude. Sometimes it is because we are under fire, or stress, or can’t find the forest for the trees. One of the common mistakes many people make is forgetting to perceive the real gift that many adversities create. We are so trained to see the adversity, inconvenience or discomfort, that we miss the gift. Let me give you some examples.

When the kids wake us up before dawn, we can be grateful that we have been blessed with children to love. Having raised three very independent, mischievous children, I admit that sometimes I was at wits end and forgot how blessed I was to be given a family to love. I had to make some hard decisions during their teenage years that involved attitude readjustment, but I never held that against them or needed to remind them of it. I always knew they were God’s gift to me, and know I have the blessing of adults who I respect. However there were some years that it was a struggle.

When I have a sink full of dishes, sometimes it is difficult to remember what a blessing it is to have food to eat. When I can be happy that my sink is full of dishes, I am in a proper state of mind. Often we talk in terms of vibratory rate, and I know that when I am happy doing cleaning, I am at the right vibratory rate. I can look all around my house as see other examples of this principle. If I have to do laundry, I can be happy I have clothes to wear. When I have to clean my house, I can be happy that I have a safe place to live. If I have to go shopping, I am happy I have the money to provide for myself and my guests, and food and clothing to wear.

Whenever I have to clean my bathrooms, I am so happy to have indoor toilets and water. I have spent weeks in the Peruvian jungle where such luxuries do not exist. While I am helping provide a few areas with clean water and toilets, nothing like we take for granted here. I kiss the bathtub every time I step in it to take a shower. Tears of joy come to my eyes when I have toilet paper to use when I am using that porcelain throne.

When I have to get up to go to work, I am happy to have something productive to do. I perceive that alarm as a blessing, as a starting bell for the best day of my life. I look forward to the dawn that I used to try to hide from behind thick blinds. I don’t draw the blinds anymore. When I go to bed sore and tired, I have the satisfaction of knowing I had a demanding day and that I have a body to get sore and tired.

The reality is we oftentimes don’t have proper training to find these rays of sunshine in everyday living. We have watched our parents and peers complain, complain and complain some more about the tasks of life. It is clearly a discipline sometimes to realize the true gift lift gives us every minute of every day. If we are going to enjoy a fulfilled and spectacular life, we have to automatically find the blessing and gifts where they are. Until then, we have to use whatever clues, reminders, mantras, practices are necessary to remind us what life is all about. Post it notes, reminder lists, anything necessary to keep our thoughts to the real gift of life are recommended.

The ultimate irony is that we are having this discussion at all, because everything we experience in life serves to remind us that we are, in fact, alive. If we would approach life with the serious appreciation that life serves to provide we would never take it for granted. I am grateful for whatever life has given me, for to do otherwise would be to disrespect the most sacred gift we are ever given, that of life.

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