Lessons in Gratitude

Sometimes bad things happen.  We live in a world of uncertainty and cannot predict an accident, a tragedy, a mistake, a feeling, or reaction.  If you live in a large city, struggle with finances or experience life in a more “stressed” manner, this uncertainty may feel even more debilitating.   This is when we need to turn to inspiring lessons.

Recently,  Deepak Chopra, M.D. started a 21 day Meditation Challenge for Creating Abundance.  You can join this challenge by signing up here.  He reviews the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and in each email he sends a lesson for the day, for the week, a Sanskrit mantra with the English meaning, and a meditation.  The information is copyrighted so you will need to sign up for this challenge in order to see the amazing insight for yourself.  Coincidentally, I started to experience something while going through this challenge.  I was beginning to feel more fear about my home, its belongings, and was feeling there was some lesson in this and had to reach out to others and, deeply within myself.

I live in an apartment in the middle of Phoenix.  While I love the easy commute to work, activities, preschool and the short distance to shopping and restaurants, I have not always felt peaceful.  This is in comparison to my last home where we had a ravine with a stream, bike path behind us where I could keep my window open and hear moving water, crickets, frogs and one summer there was a family of coyotes that screeched through the night.  The other reason for not feeling at peace is having some things stolen from my patio.  I found myself asking my friends, ‘What is the spiritual lesson in this?’ as I felt my fears getting larger, my defensiveness growing, wanting to plot the demise of the thief and wanting revenge. How dare they steal from me!  How dare they get so close to my sliding glass door, knowing someone could catch them in an instant!  I want to share some responses to my spiritual lesson question:

-Someone needed it more than you.

-It’s about letting go of material possessions and keeping your cool when shitty things happen. If you can let go, forgive and still love in this situation, then you have grown. Sometimes I believe the Universe throws these situations at us to test us.. see how far we’ve come, see what we can handle.

Attachment issue.

-It was never yours to begin with. Trust the universe to provide you what you need when you need it.

-Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, was it a 911 situation, and put things in perspective.

-There are always people in a worse place than we are.  We have to approach all things with an open heart. No judgement, no preconceived notions, just understanding and love.

A chair was taken from my patio a few days later after the bike was stolen.  This made me write the manager of the complex, complaining about my safety and how I felt like a victim. I let the lesson and wise words of friends slip right through.  Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.  Can you imagine how much less energy we would put into arguing with others with just this one lesson?  I have learned a great lesson and feel humbled by this experience.

I felt relieved when I read these responses.  Indeed, I had let something as small as a stolen bike create a huge reaction internally.  While my instinct was to find another place to live, take everything off the patio, and to create more security around my home, I simply had to breathe and meditate.  My God is bigger than this.  I will have enough.  In fact, what could I give to someone else?  Does someone in my life, in my circle, need something?  Is my heart in a place of giving?  Deepak’s description of the Law of Least Effort made the most sense here.  It says: Accept people, situations, and events as they occur. Take responsibility for your situation and for all events seen as problems. Relinquish the need to defend your point of view.

I have noticed a lot of people on Facebook posting gratitude memos.  Oprah talks about the importance of gratitude, and there is an app for this for your ipad or itouch here.  I strongly believe in doing this, especially when you are experiencing loss.  It is also proven by many psychologists, one of whom discusses a “gratitude visit.”

During this Holiday Season I pray you have lessons that create a deeper sense of love and gratitude.  As Deepak Chopra writes for his lesson in the Law of Detachment:

“Detach from all expectation of outcome by allowing everyone and everything the freedom to be exactly as they are. Accept uncertainty and witness the solutions and opportunities that spontaneously spring from it. Then, step into the field of all possibilities, remaining open to its infinity of choices.”


What's your BIG question in life?