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Uncommon Gratitude

In this season of Thanksgiving it’s often easy to sing praises and gratitude for the usual things like the Universe/God, peace, health, life, family and friends. But how do we learn to sing praises or alleluia for all the rest–the challenging parts?

In her book, Uncommon Gratitude, Alleluia For All That Is, Sister Joan Chittister offer us a way to look differently at such things such as death, divisions, and sufferings to name a few. As Joan says in her introduction, “Life itself is an exercise in learning to sing ‘alleluia’ here in order to recognize the face of God hidden in the recesses of time. To deal with the meaning of ‘alleluia’ in life means to deal with moments that do not feel like ‘alleluia moments’ at all.” Realize also that suffering allows you to develop compassion for others and may have a deeper meaning than you know.

In her series of reflections, it becomes clear that singing “alleluia” is not a way to escape reality but being open to another kind of reality beyond the immediate.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~Bernice Johnson Reagon

Even though the challenge we are facing can seem overwhelming and impossible to overcome, we have programmed ourselves to believe just that, however, if we re-programmed our minds to accept the challenge with a more positive outlook and then season it with gratitude we would get to experience it more fully–versus potentially trapping an emotion by holding onto negativity (not a healthful option).It is helpful to look at obstacles as an opportunity for growth and or transformation. Sometimes it can be a stepping stone to something better.

“If you refuse to be happy until you have no problems or challenges, you will probably never be happy.” ~Joyce Meyer~

Amazingly enough, many seemingly overwhelming challenges that many have faced over time have resulted in gratitude:
Holicost survivors–those that found optimism and gratitude for even the smallest things survived while the ones with a down-troddened mentality did not. Gratitude and hope raise your vibration and ultimately your life force
Immigrant and slavery challenges–we all have stories (known or not) of our ancestor’s survival, courage, sustained through a positive mental attitude including gratitude. We should be grateful for their resilience and fortitude–allowing us to be part of our tribal survival history.

Addiction challenges–gratitude of much life-changing self discovery through recovery work. Let go let God, let His will be done within and around you!

Cancer and Other Health challenges–actively choosing to regularly practice gratitude is a powerful tool to manage the worries and fears of being a patient or a survivor. There is a blessing in the lesson even if it is a hard one. Sometimes a disease is a wake up call to realize that there is a negative emotional environment that never was addressed and might have triggered the disease.Worry is meditating on what you don’t want, so put out there what you would like to see happen instead.

(All resulting in a different and improved perspective on life with many more blessings that were possibly taken for granted previously.)

Here are some tips that I found helpful on a site titled My Soulful Healing to help us begin to appreciate the challenge(s) we are struggling with and learning to accept it with gratitude thereby hopefully releasing potential trapped emotions:
1. Accept and embrace it. It’s sort of like the old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Same thing applies with challenges. We can’t avoid them or stop them from occurring so we may as well accept and do it with gratitude instead of anger or a defeated attitude. Let’s stop our ego from destroying our positivity. Remember ego is edging God out! An attitude of gratitude and acceptance may be all that is needed because where there is gratitude there can’t be lack of joy, anger or hopelessness.
2. Look for the Lesson in the challenge It’s hard sometimes to see a life lesson in our challenges because it’s masked by our feelings, emotions and negativity–pulling us in every direction except logical. However, if we try to remove our emotions (temporarily) and allow ourselves to see the bigger picture of the challenge, we will grant yourselves the greatest gift of learning and enlightenment. This is where intuitive skills, and even meditating on the issue can be helpful, to see as the late Wayne Dyer said “there is a spiritual solution to every problem.”
3. Consider our changing as a gift to the world When we realize that changing our mind-set is helping heal others through our own growth, we become more deeply connected with ourselves and others. The mind is the creator and when it has clarity, flexibility and openness, great changes for the better can occur.
4. Remind ourselves it’s okay It’s okay to have a difficult learning curve. After all, we’ve dealt with how many thus far in your life? We can get through this one too. Take it one-at-a-time and one-day-at-a-time.
5. Having Faith gets us through tough times in life. Recognize that we are where we need to be and doing what we need to be doing, plus, we are unconditionally loved along our journey. Ask God/the Universe for guidance in every challenge while acknowledging our appreciation for the challenge and that we accept it with grace. Be present and in gratitude for what is going right each day and know that God’s got your back! When overwhelmed ask him for help, to provide you with divine guidance, and know that with trust and faith in self and God, you can’t go wrong.
Progress–not perfection, Warriors! Happy Thanksgiving!

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