True Gratitude Includes Both the Good and the Bad
It is very common in new age spiritual practice to be grateful for all the good that comes our way. Indeed it is important to practice Gratitude for all that we receive. That’s the easy part and really only half the coin of gratefulness.
If we are to be true to the practice of real Gratitude we also need to be thankful for those things that happen to us that may be deemed as ‘bad’ – The ‘shit happens’ stuff of life. It may seem odd that we would practice Gratitude for these types of happenings;
Loss of Ability
Loss of a Home
Yet, if we are unwilling to face these types of events and over time be grateful for them we are not really practicing Gratitude at all. We may be practicing appreciation for the ‘good’, while we avoid the ‘bad’ at all costs. And besides how can we possibly be grateful for the loss of a loved one?
Well, let me tell you a story.
My late sister Jody died back in 1988 and initially I was anything but grateful! I was angry, confused, sad, guilty, lost – anything but grateful. Jody’s death really shook the foundation of my life to the point that I changed careers and set out on my journey of social / human work as opposed to my investment finance career. Jody’s death actually re-birthed me! Her death breathed new life into me.
And over time a deep sense of Gratitude overtook me. I couldn’t believe I was indeed grateful for my sister’s passing. And yet I was. I still missed her deeply and was still grieving her death, yet at the same time this profound sense of Gratitude was right there beside the sadness and the missing.
Without my sister death I would likely still be in the investment finance business. I am so grateful I was willing to let her death wake me up to my greater potential. And yes on special dates like Christmas and her birthday I still miss her deeply. In may sound odd this combination of sadness and missing coupled with gratitude and yet they co-exist in me to this very day.
When I look back at all the ‘shit’ that has happening in my life and approach it from the practice of Gratitude I always find the gift beside the loss, and the gift when I accept it always enhances my living. It never fails to surprise me.
My encouragement to each reader is to look closely at the ‘shit’ that has happened in your life. Now, with the grace of some time passed look at the loss and then also for the gift that the loss left behind. Look for how your life changed because of the ‘death’. There will be something there to be grateful for right beside the pain of the loss itself.
Gratitude for all things is a real practice and one that is most worthy of attempting.
Thank you for reading,
Over the past decade I have spoken to groups as large as 1,200 people and more intimate groups from 15 to 200 folks. I have spoken in person at conferences such as IdeaCity, Double D’s Death and Dying Conference, the Ageing and Spirituality Conference in Los Angeles, the Bereavement Ontario Networks 25th Annual Conference, along with numerous radio and television shows.
I currently work with such organizations as hospices, professional continuing education organizations, colleges, communities, and churches creating tailor-made workshops to suit each group’s unique needs and learning styles. Learn more at www.stephengarrett.ca/