Friday, June 22, 2012

Do You Genuinely Appreciate Your Gifts?

How many gifts from the Universe and the Earth do you have in your life right now? How many of them do you genuinely appreciate, and why does this matter?

That first question isn’t meant to be a trick question, but in essence it is… because everything is a gift from the Universe and/or the Earth. We do ourselves a huge disservice by not recognizing or acknowledging this Truth.

Almost two decades ago, a friend sent me a garment unlike any I’d ever worn before. I told her that, and that I wasn’t sure how to use it. Her reply was, “If you can’t figure out what to do with THAT, send it back!” Her statement may seem strong, but it was important to hear. How many gifts do we receive from the Universe, and the Earth, that we don’t, initially (or ever), figure out how to use properly and, therefore, we don’t fully appreciate them? Imagine the Universe or the Earth making the same statement my friend did regarding anything that comes to you or that you currently have. Kind of amps up the message, doesn’t it?

We love our conveniences; and though we may appreciate them, our familiarity with them (as well as, perhaps, lack of proper guidance and training) may cause us to disconnect from deeper, true appreciation. Let’s look at a meal as an example, whether you prepare it or someone else does. Even if you say a blessing before you eat, do you really mean it or do you say it because it’s expected? And, is it a thorough blessing that allows you to merge your personal empowerment with your appreciation?

Here’s an example you might test for yourself. While you cook or before you take the first bite of a meal or snack, say silently or aloud: I give thanks to everything and everyone that contributed to this food being available for me. I give thanks to the Earth for providing everything used in the preparation and in the serving and eating of it. I give thanks to the molecules of this food for the nourishment they give to my body, mind, and spirit. I give thanks to every molecule of my body for using every molecule of this food to support my optimum health, well-being, and energy, while helping me maintain my ideal weight of (number). If you happen to forget until after you eat, say or think it then.

That last part about the weight maintenance may have surprised you; but how often do we eat something and rather than enjoy and appreciate the food, and state our truest intention about the nourishment, do we do the opposite? Far too often. There is so much, everything, really, to appreciate every day, every moment; but our own disconnect to genuine appreciation causes us to USE without grace or, worse, Abuse without conscience or awareness.

When we feel appreciated, we feel fulfillment and joy about giving. When we appreciate what we receive or have, we create ripples of fulfillment and joy outward, including to the Earth and the Universe. This is an expansive energy that is responded to in kind. We feel larger when we’re in a state of appreciation because, in spirit and expression, we are. Lack of appreciation contracts our energy, makes us smaller in spirit, self-absorbed, cut off from more. More awaits us. But appreciation is the language we must feel, as well as speak, in order to keep that line of communication and receptive exchange open and flowing.

The meal example is an easy one to follow; but what about everything else in your life, especially anything or anyone so familiar or routine in your life that you “forget” to appreciate its or their presence? If you think you’re too busy to appreciate in this way, maybe you’re too much about busyness because you don’t appreciate in this way.

Look around your home, office, life, relationships. If there’s anything (or anyone) there you have no true appreciation for, remove or exchange it as soon as it’s reasonable to do so. If your life, inner or material, is cluttered with what you really don’t want and therefore don’t appreciate, you may not be able to readily appreciate what you do have that you do want.

Please be cautions not to insert self-judgment (convincing/fooling yourself) by believing if you don’t feel appreciation all the time, you’re failing, so why bother. You’re building a skill and way of being, as you might a set of muscles. To reach full development takes time and practice. Know that any moment you feel the opposite of appreciation can become an opportunity (as soon as you’re ready) to ask right questions and to learn something that can assist you as you continue forward. Keep in mind that sometimes what you learn is what to let go of. Knowing this is something to appreciate. "Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day." -Zen Proverb

As you take such assessment about anything and anyone in your life, which you can do in each moment, hear the Universe say to you, “If you can’t figure out how to put THIS into proper use and appreciate it, return it.” It’s an interesting thought and an interesting practice to follow.

Practice makes progress.

© Joyce Shafer

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