At different times in our lives we all experience what I call transformational drama. These are the shake-ups that rock our world and demand that we heal, surrender and deepen our connection with God. At any given moment, we can complain, whine or blame others for our misfortunes - or we can choose to be grateful for the opportunity to remember that we can never be separated from our Source, no matter what is going on in the world of form. Once we get that the world of form is impermanent and that Spirit is permanent and forever with us, we can shift our focus from the calamities of the material world to moving through the experience thankful for the gifts that are being presented to us.
Now more than ever, it's a good time to reflect on what part gratitude plays in our lives. Can you find something to be grateful for no matter what is going on around you? Can you give thanks in the face of a storm, for example, if you are facing financial burdens, health issues or loss of a loved one? In my own life, I had an opportunity to do just that when a loved one was in the hospital facing the possibility of the end of this life. I spent days and nights by his side keeping constant vigil and surrounding him with positive affirmations, love and prayers. I shared with the nurse that every day I wanted one positive, no matter how small, but a positive nevertheless. The minutes would tick by turning to hours and days, and finally this compassionate nurse would find some small progress and exclaim, "There's your positive. There's your positive for today!" She was as excited as I was, and I was grateful. I got it. In that moment, I got the true meaning of gratitude.
Gratitude Fosters Joy
After teaching gratitude journaling for years and the power of gratitude in prayer, I got it now more than ever. No matter what is going on around us, there is always something to be grateful for - whether it's the warm sun on your face, a friend bringing home-made soup in a time of need, a loving exchange with someone you've never met before or a squirrel scampering on your porch.
All too often, we don't think we can practice gratitude at our jobs, at school or in our daily routines; but we can incorporate gratitude into all aspects of our lives. Wherever we are in our lives, we can cultivate a grateful heart, which is worth its weight in gold. Living in gratitude is one of the best ways to move forward on your spiritual path as it honors the Power and Presence within. Start by saying prayers of gratitude where you don't ask for anything in return. Whenever you have an experience where an angel or Spirit assists you in your life - for example, you receive inner guidance, find lost keys, have a healing or receive abundance in any form - say thank you. Write thank you on the back of all your checks and feel the joy of giving thanks. Daily give thanks to God, the angels, the ascended masters and certainly you will feel the light expand in your heart and soul and radiate out into your family, the community and the world.
Gratitude always fosters joy and is always available. Practice gratitude not just as an exercise but as a powerful way to connect with the Divine Power. For me, well I plan on practicing gratitude not just on Thanksgiving but daily. As for the man in the convenience store -- well, he might not be in the hospital, but his attitude of gratitude is certainly contagious.
Barbara Gulbranson is a spiritual coach, author, speaker and New Thought minister. She is founder of Live Your Joy Institute, a non-profit trans-demoninational "church without walls." Live Your Joy Institute is dedicated to teaching principles of truth to empower people to live their joy. Barbara's critically acclaimed books, Live Your Joy: How to Awaken From Spiritual Slumber," and How to Attract Your Soul Mate: The Secrets of Lasting Love, are changing the lives of thousands of people around the world. For more about the author's books and classes and for free gifts such as downloads, book study guides and newsletters, visit http://www.liveyourjoy.org.
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