The Zen Library Blog

Living in Gratitude

Saturday 7th November 2020

Even on a bad day, there is a reason to be happy. Many things can constitute a bad day in our minds but what can make it a good day?

When we are grateful for what we have, life has meaning, simply in light of the fact that we are alive, we have our health, strength and a roof over our heads. When our basic needs our met, we have so much to be thankful for. Having gratitude for the simple things in life can really help to put our lives into perspective.

If you've ever heard the following:

'You should count yourself lucky that...'

you'll know how frustrating this 'helpful' comment can be...

I actually have an aversion to this kind of thinking. If something has annoyed me or if something I had put a lot of work into hadn't worked out, the last thing I wanted to hear was:

'You should be grateful that...' 

It felt like I wasn't been heard and that my negative feelings were invalid. I didn't want to have a bad day but then feeling guilty for feeling down about it seemed really unfair! This statement is said with good intention but it isn't always helpful when all we want is to feel what we need to. 

Feeling down has it's place. 

It isn't natural to feel happy all the time. Everything in life comes in cycles, ups and downs, yin and yang, whatever you want to call it. Pushing ourselves to feel grateful when we feel guilty for not being positive is denying our reality and invalidating our experience.

Sometimes looking for things to be grateful for can be counter-productive when all we want to do is to just sit with any negative feelings and be left alone for a while. I have found gratitude is a gift that comes into our awareness when we are living our lives in a state of flow and oneness. When we are in the moment, the simplest of things can make us feel immensely grateful. 

It's the simple things...

When we base our success and self-worth on external factors, we forget to just be in the moment and we lose the sense of wonder found in simply being in touch with our aliveness. Rather than look for things to be grateful for, I practice connecting to myself and being present. When I do this, life takes on a magical, new perspective.

Living in the present makes every moment, every breath, precious. When we stop resisting what is, we align ourselves to the miracles of possibility found when we are present within ourselves. We find joy, acceptance and abundance. 

Gratitude comes naturally when we live in a state of flow. If we are living 'contra-flow', then we are more likely to create our own opposition to the expression of gratitude. 

For me, the secret is to accept what is and then gratitude reveals itself everywhere you go. 

Let go and let gratitude flow!

© Christina McDonald 2020.

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