Gratitude is an appreciative point of view. It is a perspective of thankfulness from which we view a person or event. We may take that position consciously or unconsciously. We may think we are grateful when we really aren’t. And we may think that we are in disdain of a person or event, when in actuality it calls for appreciation and gratefulness.
How many times do we wish we hadn’t experienced a particular event or didn’t have to associate with a certain person? Probably more often than we would dare to acknowledge! But perhaps acknowledgement – and understanding – is exactly what is called for.
Our emotional baggage may be filled with traumatic events, and our social or professional circles sprinkled with a few bad eggs. These unsavory experiences and associates can fill our memories and catalyze obsessive thoughts about the “woulda, shoulda, couldas”, the excuses, the cries of victimization, the anger, and the fears that plague our minds, ravage our health, and suck the happiness out of our days.
Yet…is there another way to look at these encounters? Is there a new frame we can hang on those visions or a new interpretation we can attach to those feelings?
In my personal experiences as well as during client sessions, I have had the opportunity to visit this concept in detail and from different vantage points. Let me give you some examples. (Details have been altered to protect the privacy of anyone involved.)
A recent client had two challenging experiences in her early childhood that, in her view, shaped who she is and dictated the amount of health and happiness she has been able to experience. They created blocks and emotional reactions strong enough to seek help in dealing with them and overcoming their repercussions.
During the session, we went over the incidences carefully and examined the dynamics that were at play. We uncovered a treasure chest full of growth opportunities that she had not previously connected to those events. When we completed most of the work, I asked what she would choose if given the opportunity to a) fully avoid those experiences or b) go through those experiences as they were.
Her choice? She said that she would not trade those experiences for anything. She was able to fully appreciate the value that they brought to her character, and how they made her smarter in the world and more capable of avoiding an even worse fate. She chose to embrace the events and people who had brought her the biggest challenges of her life, and be grateful for them.
During a psychic reading, another client discussed how nearly every aspect of his life had been turned upside down in recent months, and that he needed guidance in navigating through this storm. Although a lengthy divorce proceeding was just being finalized, a subsequent relationship was becoming rocky and seemed doomed to dissolve.
In looking at the cards and discussing the circumstances, the message was loud and clear. Every single aspect of his life that was in upheaval was really just another version of the same lesson being shown over and over again from every point of view. With that realization, our session turned to ways that he would be able to use this interesting perspective, and embrace the opportunity, to examine it thoroughly so that he could finally be done with this lesson, once and for all.
I told him how happy I was for him that this destructive pattern that he had created – and that had served him at one time, long ago – had finally come to a crescendo so strongly that he would not be able to escape the lesson. He faces an opportunity to finally finish a cycle of destructive relationship patterns that may go back through this lifetime – and perhaps into many past lives as well. Through my sense of appreciation of this challenging gift, he too was able to embrace it with gratitude. Instead of being defeated by it, its energy and true meaning can bring the courage and focus to face it head on and take it to completion.
Another person recently expressed their dismay about lifestyle choices they had made back in the hippie days. She said that it brought her shame. This sad view of one’s life is like having a bruise on your soul.
The only way a person can live a life free of regret or shame is if they never do anything at all, and particularly never grow or transform. When you expand and evolve, learning to make better choices for yourself is an integral part of the process. And for that you must be proud. Rather than focusing on the past mistake, the attention can be placed on the advancements that have since been made!
Whatever choices we make are the best ones given the circumstances we are in. Perhaps we lack education or financial means. Maybe we are motivated by fear or low self-esteem. It may be tradition, culture, or peer pressure that guides us in destructive ways. Perhaps we are curious and just want to expand our field of experience, and then we find out it was a mistake. In any of those situations, we are still just doing the best we can with the knowledge and resources that we have at the time. As we gain knowledge and resources, we are no longer the same person who made those choices now deemed to be below the present standard.
Let’s remember that our experiences and memories belong to us. No one else. They are what make us unique. And once experienced, we can try to stuff them into a closet and expend lots of energy keeping it out of our consciousness, or we can find useful ways to put that experience to work for our own best interests.
What challenges do you face at this time? What memories of experiences and people bring you discomfort, anger, pain or fear?
Try to imagine floating up above your body and taking a look at the bigger scope of the situation. When you see a broader context, does that change the way you experience or remember it? Ask yourself in what ways has that event or person forced me to become stronger, more courageous, more independent, more intuitive, or have greater street smarts?
Would you rather continue regretting parts of your life experience, or would you find it interesting to discover the many ways that these have shaped your character and your soul in a better or more interesting way?
It is your life. Embrace it. Appreciate it for all that it brings to you. And if that is still just too hard, then honor yourself for that challenge and keep your sights set on the day that you can comfortably integrate all aspects of your experience…in gratitude.