A Month Of Gratitude
The gift of having seasons is allowing us to revisit themes throughout the year. As a spiritual practice, this is a wonderful gift. In the course of a day, one tries to practice awareness of themes like forgiveness, non judgment, love, and grace, yet showing up to all them on a regular basis can be challenging. Taking one practice and focusing on it during certain seasons can create new awareness and simplicity.
For the month of November, I will be focusing on gratitude. Now, gratitude for all that is right in our lives is a very necessary and powerful practice and we will look at that, but for today I’d like to focus on gratitude for the challenges and losses. One thing to keep in mind that being grateful does not mean one is happy about it. Too often gratitude is equated as happy and that is not the case. Spiritually speaking gratitude is a practice of acknowledging Goodness in the midst of all circumstances and that the source of that Goodness is beyond us. Fall is a season of releasing and letting go. Even in Phoenix where fall is really our spring, we do see leaves change and daylight lessen. A time of darkness and release is built into our world, so why wouldn’t it be part of our lives also?
Being able to practice gratitude (find the Good) for losses, times of darkness and failure is an important spiritual practice. I know in my own life the biggest block to growth is fear of pain and failure. There is no avoiding either if one is following a spiritual path. In many cases there is more, not less, as one continues to move closer to Love. Yet what kills the movement is the desire to avoid pain or plan out the solution so the risk is less. A practice of gratitude for the pain of change and growth of facing fear, while it doesn’t take away the fear and pain, allows one to be in it with the Divine rather than shutting down. It creates a trust in the PROCESS of growth and the Source of the calling to grow.
Think of times when you have faced a fear or risked pain for a growth opportunity. Maybe it was the loss of community to move to a new one. Maybe it was risking a relationship and being vulnerable yet once again. Maybe it was speaking up or showing up. Maybe it is sitting in the pain of the world and how overwhelming it may feel. How did facing and embracing the pain, fear and loss draw you closer to God’s love? Think of those who have changed major issues by being gratitude (Goodness) in the midst of painful places.
This week take some time to be grateful (find the Good) for the opportunity to practice growing through pain and loss, fear and uncertainty. Sit in the tension of the gratitude and the pain. I recently saw this video from Scott Hamilton on how he finds gratitude in the pain. Now this may not be the way you would practice it yet it is his unique way.
As always know the community of Pathways of Grace is here to support as you find your own ways to grow closer to Mystery with gratitude.