Friday, 2 December 2011

In gratitude

Sometimes, especially when we are in the middle of moments that are less than pleasant, we can forget to say "thank you" for the things we love and appreciate. Living in gratitude for the gifts we are given is one of the quickest way I know to attract more of the same and also to live a life relatively free from stress and anxiety. After all, we are normally stressed or anxious about "what is not" rather than what is.

I love the concept of a Thanksgiving festival like they have in America, while we don't have a similar festival here in Australia, that does not impede us being grateful for what we do  have *smile*

Taking some time out to think about the things we are grateful for in our lives has many side affects for us (well it does for me anyway...grin). Firstly it focuses your mind and attention on those things I would like to see more of, it also allows me to see the abundance I already have in my life and thirdly, it allows me to briefly reflect on those things I would rather not deal with, or have any contact with in my life in order to see if I can make any positive changes.

Living your life in gratitude is a fantastic way to move through times that seem a little tough and difficult. When we are focused on the things that we love, it takes some of the emphasis away from the things we are worried or stressed about.

When I am confronted by a situation or person that I would rather not be involved in, I start to mentally list the things I am grateful for. For instance, when a colleague of mine talked about the academic abilities of one of her students in a less than positive way, I would even go as far as to say derogatory, my first instinct was to berate her for her judgement of this other person and take her to task for her attitude. This is a less than angelic action on my part and would have been highly hypocritical since I would have been pronouncing judgement as loudly as she. Instead, I kept some things running through my head like a bit of a chant; "I am grateful for my students, I am grateful that I can see my students as people and not as objects, I love the work I do, I am grateful I do not have to team teach (bit of ego there *wry smile*) I am grateful for my abilities" etc. I kept up the running commentary in my head until she had finished making her statements. Consequently, I missed most of what she was saying, and focused instead on the positives in my life. In this way, I was able to avoid taking on any of her baggage or getting involved in a dispute that would only have led to hurt and not a resolution. In short, there's nothing I can do to change her opinions and it's not really my place to try and make her change; what I could do though, is avoid the trap of entering into her perceptions and letting them affect me.

Constantly taking the time to remind yourself of the things you are grateful for really builds up a shield of resilience around you so that it is not necessary to enter into the perceptions of others and allow their baggage to become your own.

With love and light

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