What do you choose to be grateful for? Every morning, when I sit and write, the light shines through the leaves of the trees outside. It's so beautiful, and I'm grateful to the light and the leaves, and I thank my eyes for allowing me to see this beauty.
BUT-- what you appreciate and what you are thankful for is YOUR CHOICE.
You don’t have to be thankful for something that you don’t want
or you don’t like!
Pay attention to what you are choosing to be thankful for.
There are thousands of outside messages, every day, telling us what we “should” like and what we “should” own... and they tell us what we “should” be thankful for.
Some of these messages may be sincere.
Most of them are trying to get you to buy something.
Some of them are people trying to manipulate you, to benefit them.
There used to a person in my life who would try to give me "gifts."
A box full of tiny slivers of stained glass left over from her craft making:
"I thought you could put them in your garden around your flowers!"
(and the garbage man won't take them in the garbage can.)
Very, very used carpeting that she was ripping out:
"you can sew the cut edges and put it in your dining room!"
(since the landfill charges a hefty fee for dumping used carpet.)
A huge box of black bananas -and fruit flies- that she had let sit too long in her pantry:
"you could make a dozen loaves of banana bread and freeze it!"
(and you won't have the smelly things in your garbage can,and flies until trash day.)
When I declined politely, she told me I was ungrateful.
True! I was ungrateful.
I had no desire to take her castoffs.
I had no gratitude for her thought of me as a convenient trash can.
I had no thankfulness for her assumption that I was obligated to accept things that were garbage to her.
I was deliberately NOT grateful.
I thought, and chose, to reserve my gratitude for things I truly wanted.
But she had expected me to be swept along by the momentum of gifting and receiving, and social manners, and maybe even by a social class obligation that expects us to be accepting and grateful of the crumbs that fall from the table of the more affluent; since I lived in a much more modest home and manner than she did.
She had expected me to submit to her manipulations, that would benefit her.
You know, I wonder what she finally did with those black bananas???
Have you ever acquired something that you thought would make you happy, and then realized you don't really like it? Then later you felt disappointed, and felt disengaged with your purchase.
Maybe you wondered "why did I make that choice." Or, "why did I buy that?"
In many cases, it's because you didn't actually think about choosing that thing - if it fits your values, your goals, your manner of lifestyle -
-you just got swept into the momentum
of the many messages that told you when you own it, it will make you happy,
and that you will be thankful you have it.
When you are careful to stop and listen your own thoughts, guided by your chosen values,
THEN you will choose to acquire things that truly make you happy!
When your thoughts and values
are in line with the deliberate choices that you make,
you find your life becoming joyfully full of things
that you are truly thankful for!
And you find yourself living in gratitude
for the things you chose to leave OUT of your life, too.
Are you a Time Traveller? It's quite likely that sometimes you are!
Have you spent time worrying about the future, or the past? Has the feeling ever been so strong that you feel like you're re-living the past events...or that you're almost present in the future events?
I've spent too much of my 59 years dwelling on the past or anxious about the future. Time travelling like that makes me feel tired, and confused!
Looking back at the past can be happy and fruitful - recalling fond memories, reminding ourselves of lessons we've learned and milestones we've passed. Renewing and refreshing our boundless spirits, strengthing our sense of self -those are very good for knowing who we are in the present, and steadying our steps into our future.
Looking ahead to see what we want to create, where we want to go - that's wonderful too! Creating eagerness, excitement, and determination to move forward with intention, curiosity, and delight!
Looking back or ahead can be good - but when we relive or project the events, we can get STUCK. I HATE BEING STUCK. IT FEELS BAD!
Every moment that you spend dwelling the future, trying to control events that haven't occurred yet, adds a burden of effort and enforcement to all your present moments that follow. That's because, in those present moments, you are working hard to force the future events to occur to your satisfaction, and satisfy your plans.
And when you worry about the done events in the past, you add the burden of dissatisfaction, guilt, and limited perceptions to your present. It's a double-whammy! Your present moments take on the burdens of your past AND your future!
Plans for the future start to take on the burdens of "but I failed that in the past...what if I fail again? "
No wonder time travelling made me tired and confused! I was trying to live three times as fast: the past moment, the present moment, and the future moment all rolled into one!
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Thank goodness I figured it out, and learned tools to help me LOOK at the past, instead of reliving it. And I learned to look forward at my future with happy curiousity, instead of trying to force events to a particular outcome.
Now, gleaning the past lessons I've learned becomes joyful, with a feeling of accomplishment, instead of guilt or shame, or "why wasn't I good enough."
Looking at and planning my future becomes a welcome journey, where I have an idea of my road and my destinations, but also a wonderful sense of mystery about the unknown things I'll encounter, and a smile and a shake of my head, knowing that obstacles will crop up, wondering how I'll handle them, and feeling tickled to know that I will get past them... and after I'm past them, there will be a new lesson for me to look back and learn from.
Would you like to learn some of the tools I used?
Tools to keep me engaged with the present.
Tools that enabled me to look back at the past in a fruitful and effective way, without getting stuck.
And, tools that help me look forward with eagerness, and intention, into the future.
Comment below, or message me, and I will be happy to share my most effective tools.
Look for the publication of my book: The Seven Minute Self. Full of simple, easy, quick tools for the most enjoyment out of your authentic life.