I almost don’t want to say it. It feels so damn predictable. A cliché. Boring. And yet, here’s the truth:
Everything is worthy of your thanks—even that which is not at all the way you want it to be. This simple shift in perspective will alter your entire world.
It seems counterintuitive to give thanks for everything (even the hard stuff). What about your ego? What about your identity? What about when shit goes wrong?
We usually meet challenges with resistance.
“You’re telling me to be thankful for my shitty marriage?”
“You’re telling me to be thankful for my worthless job?”
“You’re telling me to be thankful for my crummy teenagers?”
“You’re telling me to be thankful for my overdrawn checking account?”
The normal response goes something like this: “Nope, I can’t do that. I won’t do that. I will not give thanks for this messed up set of circumstances. This is not okay.”
If this has been your norm, then you are stuck. Staying frustrated, upset, and voicing what’s wrong—from the asshole driver on your way to work to not making enough money to pay your bills to the way your partner never helps you with anything—sets the stage for staying right where you are: stuck in the suck. (Sometimes the rhyme helps.)
As long as you are thinking and feeling what you do not want, your mind will continue to create your private self-accepted hell on earth. You control your experience through ideas and not through the manipulation of material events. Thinkers change the world, and you are a thinker.
–The Power of Decision by Raymond Charles Barker
In the thousands of people I have worked with and the countless dramas I have created in my world, I have never witnessed a shift or transformation in the absence of gratitude. Sure, the circumstances may be altered, but I assure you it will not last. When transformation is not present, it’s just a new outfit (more accurately stated a new costume—like playing dress-up).
My commitment around the areas of life that I find challenging is to enter into a deep and profound practice of acceptance and gratitude for things being exactly as they are. The big paradox here is that you become receptive to something new when you are not resisting that which is. And gratitude will expedite that process.
I am not inviting you into a hollow exercise of gratitude. One that is merely intended to trick universal law in an effort to get what you want—no. I am talking about palpable, inspiring gratitude for your pigpen. Exactly as it is.
Dig a Little Deeper:
- What is an area of life/society that perpetually aggravates you? One that you are in deep resistance to and complain about often?
- Write out all the ways you think it “should” be. Now shake it off.
- Write out all of the gifts for it being exactly as it is—dig deep here and be thoughtful. Really, what has evolved, emerged, and expanded because of this area of life/society being exactly as it is?
- Hold all of this lightly.
- Now, give thanks. Bow to the dysfunction, bow to the injustice, bow to the breakdown. And see what opens up for you.
My husband and I are at a point of breakthrough. Want to know how I know that? Because our marriage is in breakdown. The ways of being that have existed for the last ten years no longer work. And it’s getting really uncomfortable.
The easy thing to do would be to leave. Shut down. Blame. Criticize.
Gratefully, I left that life long ago. I am not interested in the wide door or the broad road. I am interested in the narrow door. The entry that few choose. It is the door of 100 percent responsibility and profound gratitude.
Why? Because it requires discipline. It requires intention. It requires practice. And I am more aligned with my essential nature when I invoke that in my life.
I believe you are interested in that too. A life worth living. A life overflowing with goodness. A life of profound acceptance and deep gratitude.
The way of the mystic is this: give thanks for all of it.
When you let go of resisting and get busy thanking, you free up psychic energy that will be available for creative pursuits that are worthy of your attention. The area of your life that illuminates struggle will be available for something new.
This isn’t an invitation to spiritually bypass struggle. This is an opportunity to look struggle square in the eye and channel Esther.
You have been called for such a time as this. – Esther 4:14
Give thanks. It’s worth it.