Thursday, September 21, 2017

Appreciating the Familiar, or, How I Came to Spot the Good Life Under the Table!

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

Gratitude brings a smile!

A grateful heart is a joyful heart!

You’ve heard it many times--from ministers, priests, rabbis, self-help and motivational speakers, books, tapes, CDs, DVDs. You need to develop an attitude of gratitude. It gets 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!!

You’re right, of course. Enough, then. I won’t tell you that you should be grateful. You already know it. Moving on.

Putting myself to the test.

Today I decided to see just how grateful I actually am. I engaged in a little exercise. 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.)

While still lying in bed, just after the musical clock comes on, 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 lamps, 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.

Then, on to the kitchen, and ultimately the living room. So much there. Furniture, TV, tables with stuff on and under, computers, cell 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 the 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 may be some truth to that, 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, the world--life--has its challenges, its traumas, its political and economic bad guys and gals. Makes things interesting. 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. Right?

Through conscious practice, gratitude can become a way of life rather than simply a gesture. When it does, the world around you changes. It’s almost like it’s been waiting for the chance to give you reasons to be grateful.

You know, I'm going to be 73 my next birthday. I recall a quote that says 'Old age is a privilege not extended to everyone.' One more thing for me to be grateful for!

Anyway, it’s your choice. As always. I'm grateful you've chosen to read this piece.

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