Gratitude for the whole shabang

So it’s that season … the time to reflect on those things we are grateful for. My list includes the big stuff–My family & friends, my partner, my health, my art and creativity, Creative Nectar Studio and all participants, our mother Earth, and all the love that surrounds me constantly. All the wonderful things that make life worth living.

At a meditation group I attended earlier this week, one participant commented on how quick we as humans are to label things. Good or bad. Beautiful or ugly. Pleasant or painful. Right or wrong. We live in a world of duality, where “this” appears separate from “that”. She came to the conclusion that no matter how we label or judge an experience–even if we call it “icky”–that on a deep level, beyond the world comparison, it has intrinsic beauty simply because it exists. It is, and therefore it is perfect.

Have you ever ended a relationship and felt like you were returning to even more of yourself? Or have you ever had an illness and learned something from it, like how to tune in to your body and listen more? Have you ever lost money, only to find that you were more willing to receive from others and appreciate the things you do have?

Perhaps I can expand my gratitude list to include my divorce, my inner critic, my rejection letters, my physical pains, my fears, and all the years spent trying to please others. Each stepping stone along the way has brought me to this moment right where I am–Wiser and happier.

We make it a point not to comment on one another’s paintings in workshops, even with positive feedback. The reason is to not inhibit the creative flow and pre-condition us for the next painting we do. But on another level, it is honoring what is … what has been given life right in front of us. It trains us to appreciate and honor the full cornucopia of life experiences that come our way without being so quick to judge, label and file away.

So my challenge for you: Are you willing to find the blessing in every experience you’ve encountered on your life’s journey? Can you feel gratitude for even the yucky stuff? The whole shabang?

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