Sunday, December 26, 2010
A Month of Gratitude
The first month of my year long gratitude buddies project has drawn to a close, providing a perfect opportunity to reflect on what I have learned thus far.
It has been a great project- It invited a daily connection with my friend who participated with me. I so looked forward to the happy messages I got from her. The daily practice coaxed me into taking the time to count my blessings despite the emotional weather of the day and truly encouraged a positive outlook. I have been much happier since starting the project. Sounds sweet, doesn't it? Pollyanna springs to mind. But I have learned an important thing this month- the practice isn't about sugar coating your life, or accepting unacceptable situations.
When my gratitude buddy and I were discussing this very thing, I came up with the following analogy. (Warning- this is an indelicate departure for this blog.) If I were holding a pile of shit in my hand, the gratitude practice isn't about spinning the situation as desirable. "I am so grateful for the warmth this pile of shit is providing for me." The practice is about acknowledging my gratitude of the fact that I have enough sense to put the shit down and to wash my hands.
Acceptance is important. Fighting with reality causes us much suffering. But this doesn't mean we should just passively and happily accept situations that are unhealthy for us. In other words, the gratitude practice isn't about justifying remaining stuck in a toxic situation. Unhealthy situations require action, not sugar coating. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself. Sometimes you have to put the shit down and wash your hands.
I am grateful for the opportunity this project has presented for me to take a deep look at my life and to appreciate all the wonderful, miraculous moments and terrific people that I sometimes take for granted, but also to recognize when I need to step up the courage in order to take action to make a healthy change.
Wishing you balance,