ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
When life does & doesn’t go our way
We’ve all heard and we all know it, gratitude is the key to happiness. When we are grateful for what is then there is no fear, no anger, and no despair. Rather we feel relaxed, energized and at peace. We invite whatever is present to be present. We stop trying to get out of life and rest into it. Yet even though we conceptually know that having an attitude of gratitude is the most important to our overall well-being and experience of life, there is a gap in our embodied, moment to moment willingness to live in gratitude. Why the gap you ask? Because 90% of time we would rather choose our perspective of what should be rather than the perspective of gratitude as to what is. We are so fixated on wanting what we want, that as soon as we feel our desires, needs or wants be threatened, even a little bit, we shift out of gratitude and into tactic, strategy and manipulation in order attempt to get or keep what we want. There is nothing more depleting to our energy state and our overall health and vitality then this. There is equally nothing more energizing and resourcing to our overall health and vitality than gratitude.
Gratitude is super easy to feel when life is going the way we want. In fact this is the state of well-being that we are always seeking. The state we are always trying to get too or maintain. Life is going great, just as we hoped and desired it would, and we feel amazing. Things are up and we are in agreement with life as it is presenting itself to us. Then alas something goes awry. Something isn’t working out how we want it to, we don’t have the thing we want, people aren’t cooperating how we hoped they would, an unexpected surprise turns the course of our plans in a direction we don’t prefer, or something is not happening fast enough, in the pacing we want or at all. Here is the birthplace of our biggest energy drain. We start to feel tired and we don’t know why. We are irritated and feel blah. We get anxious or depressed. We feel this low energy state when we enter disagreement with life. When we are trying to get somewhere else, be other than where we are, or we want something else to be showing up rather than what is and we are simultaneously actively resisting what is. This is our recipe for misery.
Just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with wanting to grow, change things up in your life, or having desires. This is natural. Rather it is when we fall out of gratitude for what is or where we are, and into resistance, which lowers our energy state. We get depleted and it becomes much harder to create changes or see things through novel perspectives of possibility, when you are coming from resistance rather than gratitude. You can be grateful for what is and simultaneously be creating massive change in your life experience.
CHANGE THROUGH GRATITUDE
Following natural impulses
While it’s true that when you are in a state of gratitude there might be less you perceive as needing to change, we are still creatures of growth and evolution. We like to explore, have different experiences, create new things, learn skills and develop. Think about when you were a baby and you were learning to walk. There were natural impulses that moved you from rolling over, to sitting up, then crawling, standing and eventually walking. Growth, movement and change happened organically. You didn’t have to get pissed off at sitting in order to start crawling. Equally you didn’t have to resist standing in order to beginning walking. No, no, no you didn’t. You simply followed an impulse to change, evolve, expand your world and grow. You didn’t’ resist anything about where you were and yet you still made changes to grow. Ahh, so yes you see it is possible, and even the natural way.
So what’s up with our self-centered way of seeing the world? Why do we insist that life should be different and freak out when it’s not going as we think it should be or how we planned? Why don’t we trust the natural impulses inside of us and that they are taking us where we need to be/go in the perfect timing and rhythm for our development? Why do we focus on what we don’t have or what isn’t happening rather than working with and adapting to what we do have? At some point early on we experienced not getting what we want. This creates frustration, anger, sadness and a sense of powerlessness for many of us. Later on we learn the concept of scarcity or not enough of something (or of ourselves). We begin to compare and contrast ourselves with others. We focus on getting what we perceive we don’t have. On top of this we create a disgruntled attitude with where we are at. It’s never quite right. It’s not quite enough. We are irritated by what we don’t have and feel heartbroken that our dreams are not here now. We feel it unfair that others have the things we want. We fall out of trust with ourselves and the natural timing of our progression, and out of faith with the flow of life. From here gratitude seems like a joke. Gratitude for what? A life that isn’t what you want and feels like it never fully will be. It’s hard to muster the energy to shift our focus because our state is so low. If only something or someone could magically fix it.
The thing is that nothing can fix it except your shift in attitude. You can’t expect your experience of life to change without first changing where you are coming from. People often don’t realize themselves in the equation. They discount the power and creation capacities of their own thoughts, feelings and emotions and assume their state of being is dependent on circumstance. The thing people truly want is a state of being change, they just don’t know that’s what they want. They think that if the experience changes then they will be happy and feel how they want to feel. This is temporary fulfillment. It is constantly chasing experiences in order to arrive at where you want to be. The only way to have sustainable fulfillment and be in a high energy state that is full of health and vitality, is to come from gratitude, and to stop trying to get to it.
Life is an abundant stream of never ending giving, but when you are focused on what isn’t you never experience what is. The key to happiness is being grateful for everything that is. Are you willing? The degree to which you are is the degree to which you will experience happiness.
Dr. Amanda Love, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado