Unconditional Gratitude

“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.” 

Dalai Lama XIV, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

I’ve added a new book to my daily reading. It’s titled, Gratitude–A Way of Life, by Louise Hay and Friends. This book is a collection of essays written by different authors about the importance of gratitude in their lives.

One of the first chapters I read talked about unconditional gratitude. This was a new phrase to me and I was very impressed with what the author, Lee Coit, had to say.

Here are some of the thoughts that caught my attention:

“…Long ago, I found that being grateful for what I had  helped me get over feeling sorry for myself. My appreciation of others always raised my own level of happiness. Whenever I thought I felt unappreciated, I’d count up all the wonderful things that had happened to me recently, and my joy would return. Being grateful for what I have is also and effective way of releasing a sense of loss. When I am aware of all the love I am receiving, I can quickly forget my problems. Gratitude is an excellent way of removing my concentration from negative situations and placing my attention on what is right…

The second thing I noticed about being grateful was that I could extend my present joy backwards by holding thoughts of gratitude about people and events from my past. It always makes me smile, and my heart fills with joy when I reminisce fondly about by beautiful friends and the special times we’ve had. I’ve noticed over the past years that the more gratitude I fell about the past, the happier I am in the present. Getting to a joyful state with gratitude is easy when I use pleasant memories from my gratitude. Being grateful for those who we think have hurt us is harder, but it is very effective for healing the past. I call this unconditional gratitude. Unconditional means that we give gratitude to everyone regardless of whether we think they deserve it or  not.

What works for me is to remember only the good things about each person and let the other thoughts go. I can always find something about each one for which I am truly grateful. I have even started with the idea that at least these people are out of my life my life now…

…Gratitude, like its sister, forgiveness, frees the giver first of all. Gratitude brings freedom to our self-imposed prison of hatred and revenge. Perceived past wrongs are our prison bars. Hatred not only locks us in a tiny cell of self-pity, it keeps out those who are seeking to bring love into our life. (Hatred includes everything from rage to seemly innocent desire to avoid someone.) Our past, released with gratitude, frees our present to be as it could be…

I begin to see that what I judged as harmful and unfair was really a misinterpretation, a faulty judgement based on my perception, which is very limited in its scope. 

Human perception seems very powerful. It proceeds from our limited self-concept…If we refuse to act on this perception but desire to see what is happening in our life spiritually, we get an entirely different view. We begin to see the interconnected and inter supporting relationships of reality. We begin to see the spiritual dance in which we are engaged…Unconditional gratitude, rather than seeking to control the situation, frees you from stress and pain. Unconditional gratitude replaces your frustration with peace, joy, and happiness that is naturally yours.”

These words have been buzzing around my mind now for days and given me a new way of thinking about things. Maybe they will have the same effect on you.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Julie Strain, for starting my day with this beautiful photo and allowing me the use it as part of my story today. I love you and I’m blessed to have you as my friend. 

Good Old Days

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” 

Andy Bernard

Thirty-five years ago this past week, my sisters and I started the road trip to my future. We left Waterloo, Iowa, stopped in Omaha to visit family, and continued on to Denver, Colorado. In less than a month I’d be starting my new job.

I was the poster child for not knowing what you don’t know–I’m pretty sure my picture has not been replaced.

This feels like such a big anniversary I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write. I’ve decided it needs to be broken up into more than one story so that’s what I’m going to do.

As I searched for quotes, I came across the one I’ve posted below and felt it said many of the things I’ve been thinking for some time. See if you agree.

“You’re innocent until proven guilty,” Mandy exclaimed, unable to hide her gleeful smile. She missed the way people used to have normal conversations, used to be more caring for each other than themselves, back in the Seventies and Eighties. These days, she realized, neighbors kept to themselves, their kids kept to themselves, nobody talked to each other anymore. They went to work, went shopping and shut themselves up at home in front of glowing computer screens and cellphones… but maybe the nostalgic, better times in her life would stay buried, maybe the world would never be what it was. In the 21st century music was bad, movies were bad, society was failing and there were very few intelligent people left who missed the way things used to be… maybe though, Mandy could change things. 

Thinking back to the old home movies in her basement, she recalled what Alecto had told her. “We wanted more than anything else in the world to be normal, but we failed.” The 1960’s and 1970’s were very strange times, but Mandy missed it all, she missed the days when Super-8 was the popular film type, when music had lyrics that made you think, when movies had powerful meanings instead of bad comedy and when people would just walk to a friend’s house for the afternoon instead of texting in bed all day. She missed soda fountains and department stores and non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags, she wished cellphones, bad pop music and LED lights didn’t exist… she hated how everything had a diagnosis or pill now, how people who didn’t fit in with modern, lazy society were just prescribed medications without a second thought… she hated how old, reliable cars were replaced with cheap hybrid vehicles… she hated how everything could be done online, so that people could just ignore each other… the world was becoming much more convenient, but at the same time, less human, and her teenage life was considered nostalgic history now.

Hanging her head low, avoiding the slightly confused stare of the cab driver through the rear view mirror, she started crying uncontrollably, her tears soaking the collar of her coat as the sun blared through the windows in a warm light.” 

Rebecca McNutt, Smog City

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

I’m Going to Miss You

“The sorrow we feel when we lose a loved one is the price we pay to have had them in our lives.” 

Rob Liano

P.J. I didn’t get to spend much time with you nor did I have the opportunity to know you well–but I know my soul knew your soul.

I guess I always thought there’d be more time.

As God keeps pointing out to me, His time frame is not always the same as mine. And as my dear Michael reminds me, what God wants God gets.

Damn I wasn’t ready.

I will miss you, Paul James Robbins, with all my heart.

I will miss watching you sit quietly and listen. There wasn’t much that got by you in our little Pleasant Valley Community.

I knew I always had a spot around your table and you would always listen–not just listen but really hear what I was saying and often what I didn’t say. You were the older brother I always asked for. Oh how I wish I’d found you sooner.

I will miss our early morning emails where we’d share morning coffee together because I knew you’d be up and probably already on your second or third cup.

I will miss those big ol’ hugs and the simple fact you always told me you loved me.

It’s Friday afternoon so I’m betting the boys are meeting up at Larry’s where they will be missing you as well. I picture you looking down with Rascal by your side as you watch over us all. IMG_1229

Mickey and I will be raising a glass to you here in Texas. I am honored to have had the chance to call you friend. I love you.

“People you love never die. That is what Omai had said, all those years ago. And he was right. They don’t die. Not completely. They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you. You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough, they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.” 

Matt Haig, How to Stop Time

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

Bird by Bird

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” 

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

My next assignment from my WordPress Course is to write about my ideal reader, including a new media element

Okay. I looked at the additional information for today’s assignment and see the very extensive list of media element options. As I clicked on each option I realized this was going to take some time.

My initial reaction was to run.

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I was and am way out of my comfort zone.

But…not a news flash. I knew I needed to slow down, taking things “bird by bird.”

With my very stern internal voice, I reminded myself this would be an investment of time. Time I’d need to set aside to learn all the tools I have at my fingertips. Each topic has the potential to add another dimension to my stories so I can fully engage my “ideal reader.”

Who is my audience, my ideal reader?

As I think about who would read my writing, I think most people would fall under the category of “seekers.”

My reader is someone searching for information to enlighten his or her life. He or she is a lifetime learner as well as a teacher. They work to learn from their experiences and mistakes and want to share and learn from the experiences of others. They question who they are and what they are here to do. They are observers of life.

They want to do and be better.

They are beginning to understand they are spiritual beings having a human experience.

“Life isn’t always about finding yourself. More often than not, it’s about discovering who God created you to be.” 

David A.R. White, Between Heaven and Hollywood: Chasing Your God-Given Dream

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~