Finding gratitude for the whole of life, the bitter and the sweet, the suffering and good fortune
I am grateful every day. I am lucky to live with a husband I adore and our sweet dog in the Catskill Mountains of NY. I have family who loves me, the best friends, and I get to do what I love — teach yoga and practice energetic healing. Sure, I’ve had my ups and downs, but I have nothing to complain about.
I feel guilty just writing this sentence, and I don’t want to feel guilty.
War, poverty, man’s cruelty to man and other living creatures, inequality, racism, disease…how long do I need to make this list? The more I list, the more it depresses me. I can feel it in my heart.
My heart hurts.
How do I reconcile my own good fortune with what I witness happening in the world around me?
Feeling guilty will not end the wars or inequalities and injustices. Guilt, like it’s sister worry, is a waste of energy. I know this.
I don’t have what it takes to dedicate my life to helping those who might need it most, often in remote and foreign lands. In some ways, I know I fault myself for this. I do what I can, I sign petitions, contact my congress people, engage in ways that fit in my life, donate what I can to causes that do provide relief to those I can’t help. Still, it doesn’t feel good enough; I fall short in my own eyes.
Ok, so I know I can’t solve the world’s problems, but how can I make a difference anyway?
I study many different spiritual teachings and I work on improving my ability to be present in the moment. I listen attentively; I cultivate compassion and endeavor to practice Loving Kindness. I try to model and share these practices. I bless and I pray.
All over the world there are those who qualify as needing ‘it’ most. We know there are plenty of people around us in our communities who need ‘it’, too.
As I write this, I think I am not trying hard enough to reach out beyond my comfortable surroundings to those in need. What I do try to do is touch those around me in some way, wherever I am. Why does that feel insignificant? I also know this is still not answering the question.
Can I tenderly hold the bitter and the sweet?
Maybe I have to acknowledge that I am doing the best I can, at any given time. This is one of my favorite mantras that I often share. Do I need to hold myself to a higher barre than I do everyone else?
Maybe I need to accept that I can make some things better for some people, in small ways. Like a drop in the water, radiating out to others, and they in turn, with their drop in the water, in cumulative ways affecting those around us, each of us doing the best we can.
Maybe, energetically, we can make a difference — baby steps towards a better world. A world of Love where we encourage and extend a helping hand to those around us, daily, by sharing and modeling Love in all that we say and do, as best we can.
Maybe we can acknowledge and admire, support and be grateful for those of us who are Super Humans, who take on some of the hardest work there is — in the war zones of all kinds, everywhere. Feeling gratitude, not only for all that we have as individuals, but also for all that each one of us does in our own way, on a large or small scale. Balancing compassion and gratitude, for others as well as ourselves.
I can’t explain why I am as fortunate as I am, or why I got to be born into and live in the circumstances that I do. I don’t know why others are born into a life of suffering and despair. I hold them tenderly in my heart and pray that their suffering end.
I am full of gratitude for my circumstances. I don’t take them for granted. I know I must enjoy each moment of sweetness I am gifted. The world is made of darkness and light, it is constantly moving and changing, offering us the bitter, and the sweet.
You may also enjoy reading Freedom From Our Un-Serving & Negative Thoughts by Annette Quarrier