December 2, 2014

When Gratitude Gets Wet

submitted by Amara Charles Back

I know when you’re in a tidal wave of love, when things are flowing sweet, when Eros is all around, being grateful is like breathing. But what about after you’ve made a major mistake? Is it possible to get to gratitude when it feels like your ship is sailing in the wrong direction, when happiness fades and fine platitudes are the last things you want to hear? We’ve all had times where all we want to do is dig into a pit of sorrow, where, even if we know wallowing wont work, we do it anyway. This is when getting to gratitude really counts. But how can we feel grateful when everything seems closed, and hopeless and dark?

Here’s four big reasons why gratitude beats regret and resentment, every time.

Gratitude Feels Better

Of course we’d rather be tingling with gratitude every minute of the day, but the truth is, sometimes we choose to mope with pain, stew in our resentment or just lounge around trying not to think too much. Usually while we’re licking or barking about our wounds what we really need is attention; we want somebody to know we’re hurting. The trouble is, while it keeps us busy, it also keeps us in the pit longer. Gratitude is a way out.

Gratitude Takes Less Effort

All we have to do is consider for a second that if we’re born into a physical body (even if we’re not happy with it at the moment), there’s always somebody who gave us this chance. The instant you can find anything to be grateful for, a sliver of light sneaks inside. The good part is, you don’t have to be grateful for anything big and you can even stay moody about certain things. That’s because gratitude is a bit like laughter, just letting a little in makes it harder to stay mad, sad or lonely for long.

Gratitude Heals Transgressions

It’s sincere gratitude, the kind that’s hard to get to that heals past transgressions. Let me explain: The biggest mistakes I’ve made have brought me into floods of confusion where feeling gratitude was out of the question. It was always because I made the wrong decision at the wrong time. I wanted what I wanted and I overlooked, or more truthfully, didn’t think for a second about how my actions might cause suffering to another. Usually I went through a phase convinced the problem was entirely ‘theirs’ and not mine. I had to dig deep, scan my actions and ask myself, ‘what was my piece in this trouble?.’ With no excuses.

Gratitude Is Real

Even in the worst cases, when maybe the only thing you can be grateful for is the fact that you are around to tell the story, expressing gratitude brings you back to what’s real. Though we might not always get to gratitude right away, that awful thing we’ve said or done just may be just the jolt we need to wake us up.

The most amazing people I know actually practice sincere repentance daily.

My greatest teachers have helped me reflect on how many times I’ve fallen asleep and forgotten the feelings of others because I’ve been too focused on what I see. They’ve also helped me understand there are things beyond what I can see in every situation.

So as we move into this holiday season, I hope you’ll give your self a big break, have plenty of compassion, lots of laughing and perhaps acknowledge someone in your life who is doing the best they know how to do.

Keep this up and eventually, gradually and suddenly you’ll be living in a stream of gratitude where the sweetness of life resides. And that’s the kind of wetness we like.

To Sweeten Your Intimacy:

Try showering a friend with praise. For Him: Go over the top, let him know how much he means to you with at least ten things you say, or ten texts, or ten notes hidden around the office. Maybe give him a reward for every one he finds. For Her: Go way over the top. Let her know how beautiful she is. Find at least ten ways to compliment her, and remember to thank her for all she does. And reward her every time she really takes it in.

In Beauty

Quehestemehah “You Dance In My Heart”

Amara Charles

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Helen says

Hi Amara,

What a great post for Thanksgiving. It’s easy to express gratitude when we are doing well. Being grateful in difficult times make the learnings even more deep.

I also love the story you told about your Teacher Angela, in respond to seemingly terrible event with “So What”. It truly puts everything into perspective, and realizing it’s no big deal.

In gratitude, Helen