So unless you’ve been sleeping under a social media rock, gratitude is continuing its rage across the interwebs (or I should say it’s spread of the love).
Busy is the new black, or perhaps it’s balance, which some say is a seemingly impossible ideal, just like being a Supermom has always been – ie we are far too busy to be balanced.
I say it is time for a new approach that starts with acceptance (hint – I think balance is hanging out in disguise).
You know unless your Gandhi or the Dalai Lama, gratitude on a thrice daily, let alone in an every moment kinda way is pretty hard to sustain. I mean shit happens.
So it seems to me we have a choice to be grateful OR to change the circumstances that leave us less than grateful. And the point we ALWAYS start from, the balance point, is acceptance.
Sometimes acceptance happens easily and shifts seemlessly into a smile to fill our hearts with gratitude. Think sunshine, warm coffee, a child’s funny antics, a new pair of shoes. Acceptance doesn’t seem to come into the equation when the things we want come into our lives, we simply have the choice to be open to receiving, to tell ourselves (and the universe) we deserve to receive, and then to do so gratefully.
But you wake up and it’s raining and your plans for the park are now astray. (Yeh, you secretly cheer, sick of taking the kids to the park). That’s an easy move from acceptance to gratitude.
Or you might first think, bugger, how am I going to amuse the kids on a wet day. You might descend into ‘poor me’ I don’t deserve this wet day, I was planning to wear out the kids at the park so they could nap/watch a movie when we got back and I could get some writing/work done.
Or you might bring acceptance – let’s go the park anyway, pull out the raincoats and make it a jumping in muddle puddles kinda morning. Let’s unleash the power for a whole lot of Peppa Pig style gratitude.
Or let’s change plans. Go grocery shopping a day early so tomorrow there will be time to fit in that writing/work. Treat the kids (and yourself) to a movie. While you are out shopping find a new pair of shoes that you may not necessarily need (ahem) but that make you smile.
We can bring acceptance to a friend or colleague’s success, rather than jealousy and self-judgment . We can choose to be grateful for their friendship or guidance as a role model. We can choose to change what we are doing to follow some of their ideas and forge our own.
Everything starts with acceptance, because the now is what it is. From there it is up to us to feel the joy, surrender into gratitude, or change our circumstances, approaching things we want to change as a challenge rather than a battle.
People talk of fighting cancer, and while fortunately I’ve never faced these circumstances personally (although I have with a close relative), I think the challenge starts with forgetting about fighting. With the surrender into acceptance of the situation, and the ability to move forward positively to challenge the circumstances. Sometimes, and I think perhaps mostly when people are successful in their ‘fight’ it is also because they have surrendered all the way into at least some measure of gratitude.
It is a challenge, but it is also where true power and balance lie. And it’s an approach that really does ‘solve’ the yin-yang equation – gratitude is yin (passive but powerful), change is yang (active and powerful). Acceptance is the balance between the two.
So my challenge for you today – give me one thing you are grateful for and one thing you’d like to change (from the point of acceptance first of course)?
PS – what do you think of my little GIF animation – change is a constant isn’t it!