July 6 2005

Gratitude is proven to be a key element in healthy living.  People who regularly practice gratitude live healthier lives; “practicing gratitude can actually improve our emotional and physical well-being” say psychologists Robert Emmons of U.C. Davis and Michael McCullough of the University of Miami.

I practice gratitude. I am daily grateful for my home, my family, my work and this country and world I live in.  I keep a journal which is highlighted by the things I am grateful for.  Yet often in my gratitude I forget to see the giver behind the gift. 

Recently I bought a house; it is a beautiful home bordered by a creek and a wilderness preserve right in the heart of Vernon.  As I work in my back yard surrounded by the sounds of the creek and the birds of the sanctuary I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. 

I have no problem feeling gratitude; still I have easily forgotten to appreciate the past tenants who left the house a mess, who left piles of trash in the yard, or the previous landlords who took 'no' personal responsibility for the state of the house they were selling. And why should I?

When I look deeper, past the obvious things the previous owners left undone, I discover in them a deeper level of caring.  Those tenants I discover as I ‘clean house’ did large amounts of yard work repairing fences maintaining gardens, planting vegetables that I am now eating at my table. 

They clearly loved this place in their way, and as I look around I see that they must have felt resentment for those unknown people who were buying out this house from under them.  The landlords lived in Vancouver and really could not do much to rectify the conditions; their hands were tied, they did the best they could justify doing. 

In this new awareness I have freed myself, I have opened the door to a greater sense of appreciation.  I increased the joy, the happiness in my life.  I also created for myself an opportunity to release old burdens.  I cannot recount how often in my past I have felt what I imagine was the resentment of the past tenants as I have felt the power of authority ‘unfairly’ controlling my life. 

Here again, with a greater understanding I can release those old burdens of blame, I can appreciate more fully the grand balance of life, how the pendulum swings in such perfect harmony.  When I come to this point of realization I am often reminded of the visual of a busy subway during rush hour; how chaotic it seems with the thousands of people all jostling to get back home.  If one were to take a ‘birds eye’ look at that same subway one would see only a harmonious flow.

Practices of gratitude avail us of that ‘birds eye view’ they help us to acquire some comprehension of why those apparently bad things of the moment are happening to us.  They give us each the opportunity to release old stress and find a new level of joy.

May your week be filled with greater joy by a practice of gratitude.

In Love and Light,