Tag Archives: gratitude

Thank You!

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“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

“As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.” – James E. Faust

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattie

“‘Thank You’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” – Alice Walker

“Fill the earth with your songs of gratitude.” – Charles Spurgeon

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I Sing Because I Am Free – Thank You

aretha_franklin_thank_you

The last time I was brought to my knees in tears and gratitude must have been 3 or 4 years ago. I don’t know what sparked it then, but I do know what sparked it now. Somehow, I stumbled across a Jennifer Holliday video, and that lead me down a path of more gospel videos. I found myself in complete awe of how self-expressed the singers were. As if they were empty, a complete open vessel for Spirit to pass though. Each singer was unique, yet each signer belting out gratitude & grace equally.

I’m left humble, and speechless. Open, and so grateful for what is my life. Being grateful is very much like being loving. It’s the highest path, highest road, without limits or an end. It’s all-encompassing and powerful. Like love, it can shake you at your core and sober you, wake you up to the truth.

Someone asked me recently, what I recommend to turn one’s life around, to cause a transformation. I said only Grace can propel a real transformation and awakening, but gratitude is a sure-fire way to get someone’s life on track fast.

I wrote a blog post on Grace in 2010. My definition of Grace might be different from the average person’s. The blog post was titled, Cultivating Grace: Survival of the Most Harmonious When I talk about Grace, it isn’t linked to a religion or meant in a religious way at all. But I do consider it spiritual, and of Spirit.

In the song Jennifer Holliday sang, I heard the words, “I sing because I am happy, I sing because I am free.” Deep moments of gratitude show me that no matter what the circumstances, I am always free, and joy is always present. Like peace, joy & freedom are not things that you can physically get or strive for — they can only be known & felt. They are available always, in every moment. But it usually takes an unconditional acceptance of the world and of one’s life. Seeing the whole, instead of fragmented pieces. Seeing how divine & miraculous life is.

I’ve embedded the video of Jennifer Holliday singing ‘His Eye is on the Sparrow,’ and also of Al Green, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin. The songs Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin sing in the videos are not gospel songs, but you can see the gospel influence in how they sing them.

Al Green

Jennifer Holliday

Patti LaBelle, Luther Vandross & Aretha Franklin

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No Past, No Future, No Problem

“When you say to someone ‘you’re history’ it doesn’t mean that you’re a part of it; it means that you’re obliterated. That’s what history means.”
— Unknown

I think my Change the Meaning of the Past post (on January 8th, 2012) was too brief & too fast. I got a few comments from readers that it was hard to catch all that Alan Watts was saying & they also wanted more to read. Well, I can’t slow Alan down & I can’t transcribe the whole video, but I can write a bit more about the topic & post an additional video for you.

The Alan Watts video that I embedded in this post gives a bit more detail & has good pacing. It’s quite relaxed & fun to watch (especially Alan’s printed pants).

To me, the bottom line of what Alan Watts is saying is: THE PAST IS THE RESULT OF THE PRESENT. I could probably talk about that sentence for an hour. Actually, I know I easily could. But for now, I want to take it in another direction. (Because you can watch the entire 6 part video on Alan’s view that I embedded above, & get almost an hour of talk about that sentence from him.)

I want to share a different take on: being, living in the present, & staying out of past/future based thinking.

To me, suffering is only possible if your mind is in the past or future. If you are truly in the present, suffering is not possible.

But someone might say: I am in extreme physical pain from an illness (or physical injury). I am completely present. This pain is happening right now, & I am suffering!

My question for you would be: but are you comparing how you feel right now to a time when you were not in pain? Are you comparing how you feel or how you look, to the past? Are you comparing the predicament you are in right now to a time when you were not in it? Are you adding to this moment thoughts about the future? Thoughts based on fear? Like: what if I never get better? What if this gets worse? What if I am never the same? Why is this happening? What if I die? What if this takes a long time? What if I lose what I have over this? What if I never feel good again? — Also, let me ask you: what is your point of reference for pain & pleasure? Is it not based on the past? So in my opinion, it’s not the pain (illness, injury, or situation) that is making you suffer — it’s you. It’s your thoughts. Thoughts overrun by past & future based thinking.

Try it out for yourself today. Or better yet, try it out for yourself this week. Set aside a piece of paper. Every time you get stressed, or feel uneasy, or feel that unwanted emotions are arising — make a note of it. I want you to write down what what you are feeling & thinking. Go into detail. After that, I want you to write down what is happening in the present. Write down where you are & what is TRULY happening in the present moment. Not what you are thinking is happening, but what is really happening. Just note the facts. Don’t paint a picture of them. Just write down the basic facts without adding meaning to them. At the end of the day, or end of the week. Go back & see if those detailed thoughts & feelings about the situation matched the basic facts of the present moment. And if any of the fears that were noted in the detailed thoughts were as scary, as uncomfortable, or as painful as you thought they would be.

Alan Watts has a quote that ties in nicely to what I was just sharing with you:
[Being free from the past] simply involves a change in your thinking. It involves in other words; your getting rid of the habit of thought whereby you define yourself as the result of what has gone before — and instead, get into the more plausible, and more reasonable habit of thought. In terms of which; you don’t define yourself in terms of what you’ve done before, but in terms of what you’re doing now. And that is liberation from the ridiculous situation of being a dog wagged by its tail.

Just remember: no past, no future, no problem! :) Stay present. See what is happening now as a gift.

[To watch the entire “Time and The More It Changes” video (in 6 parts) from Alan Watts, click here.]

[Photo of the “No Past, No Future” tattoo is from the F*ck Yeah, Tattoos! blog.]

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