Thursday, March 30, 2017

Discovering the Familiar: The Real Secret of Gratitude

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

You hear it all the time, from ministers, priests, rabbis, self help and motivational speakers, books, tapes, CDs, DVDs: 

You must develop an attitude of gratitude. 

It can get tiring sometimes. Quit telling me what to do. I am grown up now. You can stop with the finger shaking, the fire and brimstone, the threats, even the promises. I know an attitude of gratitude is probably a good thing. But you don’t need to keep guilting me about it. Enough already!!

OK, enough, then. I won’t tell you that you should be grateful. You know, right? Moving on...

This morning, I decided to see just how grateful I actually am. I engaged in a little exercise. Now, you don’t have to participate in this. I’m not preaching at you or telling you you’ll draw bad karma if you don’t join in. It’s up to you. You may or may not get anything out of it. Only you will know that. 

Having said that, here’s the exercise I practiced this morning (and by the way, I do my best to practice this little exercise at least a few times a week. But you don’t have to. You have your way, I have mine.)

Still lying in bed, just after the musical clock comes on, I turn on the lamp on the night stand because I get up when it’s still dark out. Then, I begin to look at as many objects in the room as I can. As I do so, I bless each one because each item has served me greatly in certain ways. 

The clock itself, the lamp, the bed, the windows, the walls, carpets, dressers. All of it. Many more than two billion people don’t have bedrooms. 

Then after I get up, I go into the bathroom and bless everything in there as well. Sink, toilet, shower, towels, lights, fans, soap, everything. Many millions have never even seen a bathroom. 

On to the kitchen, where I start the coffee, get out the eggs from the fridge, put bread into the toaster. How many millions in the world not only don't start the day with breakfast, but also don't end the day with supper?

Ultimately, I arrive in the living room. So much there. Furniture, TV, computers, a cat, phone, candles, books, stereo, and so on. Hundreds of millions of people don’t have kitchens, living rooms, TVs, computers. They don’t even have houses. 

These blessings only take a few seconds. 

After I leave for the day, I bless the sidewalks, street lamps, trees, all the stuff between my house and the bus stop. Then, whether the bus is on time or late, I bless it, too. And everyone on it. 

Each time I do these conscious blessings, I allow myself to determine if I am actually grateful for all this or just blessing everything out of obligation because someone told me to. There was some truth to that 'obligation' thing in the beginning but over the years, the practice of blessing everything in my life has created the habit of blessing everything in my life. I almost can’t NOT do it. 

Now I walk through a blessed world. Sure, it has its challenges, its traumas, its bad guys. Makes things interesting. 

Still, I find I actually am grateful, not only for what I have and what I can do, but just for being able to experience the whole thing. I am indeed blessed. What a trip! 

But don’t concern yourself with all that. This is just what I do, just how I feel. No guilting here. Your world may be quite different. You may have absolutely nothing in your life to bless or to be grateful for….


(Please share your comments. Most appreciated.)

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