Today people in the USA and some other countries celebrate their Thanksgiving holiday. Here in the UK this holiday is not celebrated. Being a citizen of the USA living in the UK with my lovely wife and soulmate Karen, I think fondly about people in the USA during this holiday. It also earmarks the commemoration of the day in 2013 that I climbed aboard a one-way flight in Denver to come to the UK to live with my new wife and love of my life. LOTS to be grateful for there!
I therefore always feel such gratitude when I remember that day. It was an extraordinary journey on a very special day. I felt immense gratitude for the opportunity to start a new life with Karen all throughout that very long flight. This feeling stays with me to this day, and Thanksgiving Day always brings that wonderful feeling back into my heart and being very strongly.
Gratitude is, however, not something that is reserved just for such special occasions and memories. It’s an attitude that we can cultivate as we engage with the every day flow of life. Many people have commented to me that they find it hard to feel grateful when there’s a lot of struggle, pain, suffering and adversity in their life. I really hear and know that because those things have not been strangers in my life either.
However, I’ve also learned that there is a difference between pain and suffering. By saying this I’m not picking on the use of the word suffering here or the way it is often used to mean enduring painful, difficult circumstances and experiences either. I readily acknowledge that there’re many oppressive conditions truly out of the control of the people experiencing them that are not well-addressed by what I’m saying here. Those are in the very least opportunities for those of us more fortunate to rise to a higher degree of compassion and to be even more grateful for the blessings of our own lives.
I’m therefore simply offering some valuable awareness that’s been quite helpful to me. This awareness is, that by making a distinction between pain and suffering, I’ve been much better able to experience gratitude during times of adversity. Suffering in this sense occurs as a result of our resistance to something painful taking place. In other words, whatever it is that’s painful, we’re not really accepting it into our experience fully enough to allow it to flow on through so it can process completely. When this occurs it gets stuck inside us and this leads to a condition we call suffering. This is particularly applicable when it applies to mental and emotional anguish, but that can also then lead to physical problems and pain.
Gratitude can begin with simple appreciation. No matter how bad things seem to be, there’s usually something one can find to appreciate. Doing so opens a door, it shifts your HRV (Heart Rate Variability – Google ‘HeartMath’) into a more coherent state. This then brings the higher cortical area of your brain into a much better state of functioning which then makes it possible to find even more things to appreciate. This can form an ‘appreciation wave’ that builds great strength as it reverberates all through you.
An appreciation wave easily grows into a wonderful attitude of gratitude because there are now so many things being appreciated to be grateful for! This feels sooo much better inside the body due to the release of endorphines, which are feel-good happy molecules that have a great many scientifically documented physiological benefits (Google ‘benefits of endorphines’) that help the mind, emotions and body to heal and stay healthy too.
Don’t delay, affirm your commitment to be a person that goes through life with an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE today… it’s beneficial to you, to those around you, and to the world at large. It’s also quite infectious and others are much more likely to make the same shift when they’re hanging around that type of energy! People who are appreciative and grateful also enjoy a much greater degree of inner peace than those who aren’t.
Start a trend in your area, you can be an inner peace activist simply by doing this! By being an inner peace activist you are also a world peace activist by default. Why? Because in order to have world peace we need a world full of peaceful people and you will be doing your part to bring that about!
Image Credit: pixel2013 @ Pixabay