Gratitude


Perhaps this is the last thing on our minds at the moment with all the suffering and uncertainty that the Covid-19 crisis is causing. However, the practice of gratitude is of paramount importance for spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing – recommended by Religion, science and almost every self-development book out there.

I’ll admit, as someone of a naturally nervous disposition, my gratitude practice often falls by the wayside as I get caught up in the frustrations and anxiety of every-day drama. But, I try my best to find things to be grateful for every day as I recognise, and experience, the benefit this provides me. Being thankful for things helps me to feel privileged rather than entitled to the pleasurable experiences that come my way, appreciating them all the more when they do. However, these last few weeks of crisis and the vast affect it is having on the every day things we do and obtain to bring us security and happiness have got me thinking… do many of us only really appreciate something once we no longer have it?

I have asked myself this question recently while I have been feeling unwell and isolating at home. One of my symptoms is a complete lack of taste and smell – the usual accompaniment to a stuffy nose and sore throat. And so, for the last few days, not only have I been (rather characteristically) catastrophizing if i’ll ever get these senses back but also, reflecting on how easily I took these for granted when they functioned normally. When marvelling at the simple delight of the taste of a cool, juicy orange or the smell of seaside air or fresh laundry – I thought of those things and was grateful for them but, without acknowledging my very ability to taste or smell. What an oversight! It is only now that I cannot enjoy the effect of these complex systems that I truly appreciate what a gift they are.

We all take things for granted. Today’s busy and demanding lifestyles constantly draw our attention away from the Here & Now and so we mindlessly interact with others and our environments without appreciating the means by which we do that. However, practicing gratitude really combats the discomfort we may feel when life’s winding road gets a little ‘off road’. Living through tough times such as war or a global pandemic is unsettling and often painful as our lives are significantly interrupted and we experience suffering in and around ourselves.

But what if we also received these times as an opportunity to strip back and practice gratitude for what we do have, such as our ability to connect with and positively influence other people’s lives? What if this crisis is giving us the opportunity to reconnect with our higher attributes of compassion, love and acceptance – as we tend to those who need our help, comfort ourselves and others and accept the beauty and ephemerality of existence? As with all experiences in life, we chose how we perceive them. And as inspiring author Melody Beattie has said, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

And so, amidst the chaos of these troublesome times, let us take conscious moments to be grateful for the gifts we do have, whether these be the important people in our life, the pleasure we experience through our senses or the wonder of our very existence. Perhaps it is in these moments that we are ever truly alive.

Namaste x


Prayer for Self Love

The following is an excerpt from ‘The Mastery of Love’ by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is something to begin reading when you have some time to think about each section and when you’re feeling humble. Allow these words to wash over you and absorb everything you can. You can always come back and read this again.


Prayer

Today, Creator of the Universe, we ask that you help us to accept ourselves just the way we are, without judgement. Help us to accept our mind the way it is, with all our emotions, our hopes and dreams, our personality, our unique way of being. Help us to accept our body just the way it is, with all its beauty and perfection. Let the love we have for ourselves or sabotage our happiness, freedom, and love.

From now on, let every action, every reaction, every thought, and every emotion, be based on love. Help us, Creator, to increase our self-love until the entire dream of our life is transformed, from fear and drama to love and joy. Let the power of our self-love be strong enough to break all the lies we have come to believe – all the lies that tell us we are not good enough, or strong enough, or intelligent enough, that we cannot make it. Let the power of our self-love be so strong that we no longer need to live our life according to other people’s opinions. Let us trust ourselves completely to make the choices we must make. With our self-love, we are no longer afraid to face responsibility in our life or face any problems and resolve them as they arise.
Whatever we want to accomplish, let it be done with the power of our self-love.

Starting today, help us to love ourselves so much that we never set up any circumstances that go against us. We can live our life being ourselves and not pretending to be someone else just to be accepted by other people. We no longer need other people to accept us or tell us how good we are because we know what we are. With the power of our self-love, let us enjoy what we see every time we look in the mirror. Let there be a big smile on our face that enhances our inner and outer beauty. Help us to feel such intense self-love that we always enjoy our presence.

Let us love ourselves without judgment, because when we judge, we carry blame and guilt, we have the need for punishment, and we lose the perspective of Your love. Strengthen our will to forgive ourselves in the moment. Clean our minds of emotional poison and self-judgement so we can live in complete peace.

Let our self-love be the power that changes the dream of our life. With this new power in our hearts, the power of self-love, let us transform every relationship we have with ourselves. Help us to feel free of any conflict with others. Let us be happy to share our time with our loved ones and to
forgive them for any injustice we feel in our mind. Help us to love ourselves so much that we forgive anyone who has every hurt us in our life.

Give us the courage to love our family and friends unconditionally, and to change our relationship in the most positive and loving way. Help us to create new channels of communication in our relationships so there is no war of control, there is no winner or loser. Together let us work as a team for love, for joy, for harmony.

Let our relationships with our family and friends be based on respect and joy so we no longer have the need to tell them how to think or how to be.
Let our romantic relationship be the most wonderful relationship; let us feel joy every time we share ourselves with our partner. Help us to accept others just the way they are, without judgment, because when we reject them, we reject ourselves. When we reject ourselves, we reject You.

Today is a new beginning. Help us to start our life over beginning today with the power of self-love. Help us to enjoy our life, to enjoy our relationships, to explore life, to take risk, to be alive, and to no longer live in fear of love. Let us open our heart to the love that is our birth right. Help us to become Masters of Gratitude, Generosity and Love so that we can enjoy all of your creations forever and ever.

Amen.