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. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
— Melody Beattie
Humans are problem-solving wizards. We are hard wired to observe, experiment, adapt, reorganize, try this, try that. We have the gift of anticipation by extrapolating from our experiences, in order to successfully predict what’s coming. We use these skills to survive the ever-changing environment in which we live (made that way, in part, by our own busy hands and minds).
Perhaps that’s why we tend to fixate on our problems. We chew on those irritating, worrisome parts of our lives until we can resolve them, or until something worse comes along, to divert our attention. Maybe that’s part of the reason that many of us develop an undercurrent expectation that things are going to get worse.
So ideas like “The Law of Attraction” thrive, promising us that if we can just turn off the juice that keeps us focused on worst case scenarios, they will never occur. If only it was that simple!
Instead, I have observed that (thank the Gods!) we are not the supreme rulers of the Universe. We are rarely even the rulers of our own lives. In fact, it takes a lot of practice to even begin to order our own consciousness. We live in a balancing act between manifesting our will, and being buffeted around by chance.
So we learn there are times we must let go, surrender with grace and gratitude. And we learn there are other times when we must strive, demand, struggle without surrender. This is the great dance of our lives, indeed, of our human history. It is at the heart of the famed “Serenity prayer:”
God(dess) grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
— attributed to Dr. Rheinhold Niebuhr
This underscores that it is only when we are peaceful within that we can sense when to step in and make change happen, and when to be willing to gracefully allow change.
That serenity also gives us the willingness and forgiveness to sometimes be wrong.
The more we cultivate self-awareness, and our connection to All That Is, the more we deepen our self-acceptance, and acceptance of external situations. We can more clearly differentiate what is beyond our control from what requires our deliberate intervention.
To give. To receive.
Breathing in. Breathing out.
This is really the soul of our existence, isn’t it? Someone once said that the only two prayers we really have are “Please,” and “Thank you.”
It seems to me that serenity starts with “Thank you.”
So with tomorrow’s New Moon, let us begin.