Do your days feel ordinary? Do you feel there are too few blessings in your life? Maybe you’d like to shift this.
Let’s look at the second part of the article title first. We tend to put a lot of energy into naming what we want (often stated as “don’t haves”) and not a lot of energy into naming what we have. We are surrounded by people and advertising—obvious and subtle—that promote this as a natural or expected way to be and feel. The result is that we wake each morning, go about our days, and go to sleep with very little appreciation for what we have and may, in fact, dwell on the opposite.
We believe—which is really mimic others and repeat behaviors we learned—that it’s natural or responsible to focus on what’s “wrong” with us, everyone else, and in certain areas of our lives or life itself. This is so prevalent that we miss or discount what is right in us, others, and life. We learned to think about what’s “wrong.” We learned to complain (rather than occasionally vent) to anyone who’ll listen or happens to be where we are, maybe about the same things over and over. We’re so focused in this way that often our perspective about “what is” gets skewed, and our ability to be creative about solutions, resolutions, or improvements gets diminished.
Kurt Wright explained in his book, Breaking the Rules, that we use our rational minds to judge, to assign value as right/wrong, good/bad rather than use that part of our mind as it was designed: To convey “facts into and back out of our intuition,” so that we use our whole-mind function rather than just the analytical mind, which has been scientifically proven unable to discern fact from fiction. The result is that we disallow “good judgment” to happen. Judgment, in its most beneficial form, is there to help us figure out what fits and doesn’t, in an ongoing, ever-evolving assessment of a desired ideal. When we go straight into right/wrong, good/bad judgment, we block our intuition’s ability to respond to beneficial questions like, “What else might be going on here? What might the bigger picture be? What feels appropriate for me, or inappropriate? What would have to happen for me to feel head and heart alignment about this?”
Recognizing what you have doesn’t mean you aren’t aware of what you’d like to shift so that you have more desirable experiences and results. In fact, the greater your appreciation for what you have, the greater your ability is to solve, resolve, and make productive shifts. We want more “blessings” in our life, but do we notice (name) the ones we have? To those who have appreciation, more to appreciate is given.
One way to name your blessings, as wisely stated by Joel Osteen, is to as often as possible, exchange the words HAVE TO with GET TO. Think about what this really means in the greater scheme of life around the world. You don’t have to go to work, you get to go to work (you’re able to receive income). You don’t have to do your studies, you get to do them (education is available). You don’t have to wake up, you get to wake up (you’re alive another day, with its opportunities). You don’t have to interact with your children or other family members, you get to (your loved ones are still with you). You don’t have to work with clients or customers, you get to (people want what you provide). Recall the last thing you said you had to do and use “get to” instead of “have to”. How does that feel? Example: I have to grocery shop vs. I get to grocery shop, which means I get to walk into a store and easily reach for what I want or need rather than have to grow, raise, process, or preserve all of it.
What else in your life do you say you Have to do that, with a perspective shift, you realize you Get to do? See? Hear? Breathe? Feel? Think? Love? Appreciate? Pay for products and services that benefit your life? Use your limbs? How many things do you experience that go unnoticed or unappreciated by you?
This leads to the first part of the article title: Number Your Days. The quote comes from the Bible, Psalm 90:12 – “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” This is about appreciating each day. It’s about realizing what author Dan Millman realized: “There are no ordinary moments.” I add: only ordinary perspectives.
We are so involved with our thoughts about matters and things, mostly negative thoughts, that we miss the fact that every moment we have is extraordinary—and numbered. None of us know the number of our days or the days of others. It’s not that we’re to use this as our motivation to behave better, but to let awareness of this motivate better behavior and deeper appreciation—to place greater value on our moments and blessings than we have been. I’m not saying we should appreciate anything that’s intolerable or inappropriate (though, we can appreciate that we can discern this and make a choice in favor of our well-being); this is about the gifts in our life that we don’t recognize and name as such.
You woke up today. It’s likely you were able to get out of bed without assistance—same for going to the bathroom; or if you needed assistance, it’s likely you had it. It’s likely you showered or bathed inside, with water you could adjust temperature-wise to suit you. You probably had coffee and food in your kitchen or easy access to someone who provided them. Maybe you drove, rode a bike, used public transportation, or walked to work—even if that’s in the next room. Maybe you interacted with a loved one or will during the day. The list can go on and on. It’s up to you to practice naming your blessings, small and large. It’s up to you to practice seeing your days and moments as numbered and, therefore, not in the least ordinary.
Today, and everyday, take time to appreciate what you have, especially what you usually don’t think about, or often take for granted. Consider the habit of not getting out of bed until you find at least one reason to feel deep appreciation, rather than start your day with grumbling. Make a moment to state appreciation to someone—it matters. It makes a difference—for them and for you.
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer