Monday, November 23, 2009
Thankful For the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
So often at this time of the year we are asked to give thanks for what we have, our blessings, etc. It is a great exercise in wading in positive feelings of gratitude. However, what happens to what we might not be too happy about? Our so-called mistakes, or short-comings often get neglected by choice. It is as if we don’t want to mix the good with the bad. We are saving the bad for another time. For some, it comes out when they repeat an unwanted pattern and then they proceed to beat themselves over it. Others choose to be reminded of the bad by others (relationships, an incident on the TV or a movie, etc.). Some spend their lives avoiding any such thoughts, or so they think until something happens that pushes it all to the surface.
I am a firm believer in two things: there is no such thing as good or bad; and if you are afraid of something, it’s better to stalk it and face it until it no longer spooks you. Gratitude is an emotion that encompasses this. If you are grateful for the lesson you have learned from your mistake, then you must in a sense be grateful for having made the mistake for if you hadn’t, you might not have learned the lesson. If you feel into this statement, you will notice that the word mistake no longer has power over you and you have faced something dark or negative and nothing bad happened. Life is indeed like opening up a box of chocolates and biting into all of them. There are some you are going to love and some you wish you could spit out. You learned which ones you like and which ones you won’t try again. Being grateful only for the good is like taking out all of the chocolates you like and pretend the ones you don’t like aren’t in the box. Life is a rainbow of colors and flavors and our job is to experience as much of it as we can. For only in the experience are we going to know what we like and what we don’t.
Even in the depths of grief, there is the sweet memory of the one we lost and the love we feel for them still. And unfortunately, at times, it is in losing them that we recognize how much they meant to us. That in itself is the gift of loss. So, in the spirit of this beautiful American Holiday, I would like to ask you to look back into your life and think about your blessings, your talents, and your so-called mistakes, short-comings, or losses. Imagine a basket that contains your entire life experience up until now and imagine all of the events, people, and decisions like small fruits or flowers in this basket. Some are fresh and delicious, and some are not. But they are all there, and you wouldn’t be here in this exact place and in this precise form, if it weren’t for all the fruit and flowers in that basket. Your basket is uniquely yours, you have filled it with its content, it represents all of your choices and experiences. Now, that you have a fresh inventory of the basket, breathe it all in, give thanks and honor all of its content. You are indeed an amazing creator. Keep on creating, don’t close the door on the creations that have caused you pain, for there is wisdom in that pain. I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!