I’ve been thinking lately about appreciation and what an incredibly powerful tool we have at our disposal. Frequently, however, we set it apart from our daily lives and compartmentalize in with kind acts, good deeds and churchy things when, in fact, it’s one of the most potent acts in our arsenal for happiness.
If you’re facing a challenge in your life right now I would encourage you to drop all your strategizing and planning and adopt a stance of appreciation. We seem to think that the only way to achieve a goal or solve a problem is to be proactive and assertive, get out there, “brain storm” and get the job done. I can’t think of anything more unsettling than a storm in my brain. That kind of “strategery,” as our previous President so aptly put it, has the effect of that proverbial bull in a china shop. It often makes things worse. We don’t immediately think of appreciation as a jumping off point in solving problems in our lives, but it is. Appreciation is not passive. Again, in our backwards world, we put the cart before the horse, set our minds on overload and try to manipulate our way out a dilemma – doesn’t that make for an exhausting day! I have a friend who says, “you cannot think your way out of situation that you’ve acted your way into.” We must engage our hearts and the wisdom of our infinite higher selves to create anew. One of the best ways I know how to do that is through appreciation.
This week I was consoling a friend who suffered a loss – of material things – and I was trying to get him to focus on all the other amazing things he has in life and he has many. He said to me, “I know I should be more appreciative, but…” As if to say, “I know I should floss, but…” It’s that qualifying “but” that keeps us in a state of suffering and just ruins our ability to recreate any situation.
I would encourage you this week to make an appreciation list. I know I’ve said it before but let’s ramp it up – write down the things you appreciate in your life; qualities that you appreciate in the people you know and love and in the people with whom you might be having trouble. This is one of the most powerful things you can do to transform a relationship. Even if there is only one tiny thing you can find to appreciate about a person, write it down and ride it for all its worth this week. You will begin to notice a change. Write down things that you appreciate about a situation that you might be going through – especially those that seem troubling or problematic – mine it for its value. You’ve heard it said that we only have control of how we “react” in any given moment, but I would postulate that if we appreciate and change our minds about a situation, the reaction phase of counting to 10 before we pull out all of our hair, will never come. It’s a new way of thinking and again, we’re here to retrain and transform our minds. Make a list, add to it every day and read it every evening.
It’s summer! Give your brain a vacation from all its strategy and “best” thinking and let your heart and intuitive higher self sweetly and powerfully engage in appreciation. Rest in the knowledge that all is well and getting better.
I leave you this week with a quote by Meister Eckhart who said, "If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would be enough.”