As we embark on a new year with new challenges, as well as those that have materialized with the trials and tribulations that were presented in 2020, it is important to take a moment to realize the power of the present moment.
Gratitude for the present is a practice that we can cultivate to shift our attitude and our consciousness from a narrow view to a much larger perspective of life as a whole.
We Have the Power to Shift From Grief to Gratitude
Ironically, we accomplish this by focusing on today. We must realize that we have a choice about how we perceive the world around us, no matter what life brings our way. When we master the flow of ups and downs through life by maintaining a sense of grace and gratitude, we attract more happiness and contentment into our lives. The first step is to simply choose to live in gratitude for the present. Dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future does not help us.
No matter what kind of struggles we incur, we must realize that we have the power to step back and ask ourselves – “What can I learn from this lesson? “. Therefore, we must realize the importance of maintaining control over our emotions, maintaining a state of mindfulness of the present moment, and a state of being in constant awe for the small gifts that each day brings: a cool breeze, a baby’s smile, drinkable water from the faucet, a dry roof over our head or a warm blanket to protect us from the cold.
There is an old Chinese fable about a wise old farmer who is gifted a horse. All of his neighbors gather around to congratulate him on the gift of the horse, and they say “How fortunate you are to receive such a gift!”. The farmer simply shrugs his arms, and says, “Maybe.”
The very next day, the horse runs away. All the neighbors voice their sorrow to the farmer, “Oh how unfortunate this is that your horse ran away!” The farmer simply shrugs his arms and says, “Maybe.”.
The next day the horse comes back with 7 other horses, and the neighbors cry out in envy, “How lucky you are to have 8 horses!” Of course, the farmer just shrugs his arms, and he says, “Maybe.”
The farmer’s son tries to break one of the wild horses but instead his son breaks his leg. The neighbors lament, “Oh no, how terrible it is that your son has broken his leg!” The farmer shrugs and says, “Maybe.”
Finally, the town officials stop by the farm to inscribe the young men in the village to join the military in order to fight a terrible war that has left many citizens dead. Of course, when they see that his son has broken his leg, they leave him be. The farmer’s son heals his leg, and life goes on.
Sometimes when we are in the midst of the storm, it is impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It takes wisdom, faith, and diligence to realize that when we experience these challenges, we don’t have the capacity to understand the complexity of what nature will bring our way.
At the very least, we can learn that it is pointless to get attached or to become overly reactive to situations that arise. Many times when things occur that we perceive as a tragedy, a new path will open in a new direction. Thus, many tragedies can turn into blessings in disguise. A betrayal can strengthen one’s skill of discernment, a job loss can impel a journey for embarking on a new passion for serving. Sometimes when things continue to go wrong, it is the universe’s way of trying to tell us that we are not on the right path.
Cultivating Gratitude to Attract Abundance
Being mindful and raising our awareness to the complex nature of the world, can help us navigate through our struggles with grace and gratitude. Our strength and ability to accomplish this acts as a magnet to attract more positivity into our life because like attracts like. Cultivation of mindfulness and gratitude for our thoughts, words, and actions is an integral part of manifesting more to be grateful for in our lives.
Keeping a Gratitude Journal
If you have a difficult time with this, keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to cultivate gratitude even during times of hardship. At least once a day, make a list of what you are grateful for. Contemplate on things that have occurred in the past and how they have worked themselves out or what you learned from them. This part can be done in the morning.
In the evening before you go to bed, take an inventory of your thoughts, words, and actions throughout the day. Ask yourself if they are in line with what you want to manifest more of in your life? If not, make a note to transform these contrary thoughts, words, or actions to those that are in line with your intentions.
Make sure you write them down! Something special happens when you commit things to paper. A few years ago, I took a course on visualization, and I wrote down in detail everything that I wanted. To my surprise, 90% of what I wrote down came into fruition. Now the trick is to unlock the fears that are blocking us from achieving that other 10%. This is why journaling is so powerful! Journaling helps us unlock those fears and transform them into gratitude.
After a week of writing in your journal, set aside some time on a day that you’re not too busy and write in detail what you want. Imagine yourself truly feeling every aspect and detail of your vision and the gratitude of this pulling through every sense of your being.
The world that we see is often a reflection of the world around us, and if that is not showing up in our lives, then realizing that we have the power to change is the first step towards cultivating gratitude. This means being grateful for our struggles and the lessons we learn from them, then transforming them into a new direction. This means transcending these beyond these limitations.
Strength lies in the power to remain calm, and the ability to respond rather than to react to the ebb and flow of life. Realizing that the radical acceptance of even our worst tragedies, has tremendous power to impel us forward, and create a life that we are truly grateful for. Being grateful is the key to manifesting grace, gratitude, and a life of ease and contentment.