"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
-- Melody Beattie, author and journalist
Two months ago I was packing boxes, sorting through my accumulated memories and treasures, letting go of things I'd been holding on to for twenty years while choosing to keep others. But all the while I was anxiously envisioning the perfect home where I could create a new place to live and work. I had done all the preparatory things I tell my students and clients to do: I had written about the place I wanted to live - near the ocean with an expansive view, a place where people felt safe and loved, a new relationship for me; I had done ceremonies to release fears and was focusing on gratitude for all the blessings in my life; I was envisioning the manifestation of my dreaming. Little did I know that this process would be more complex than I had imagined and that unpacking would be on hold for six months and that I would be invited to detach completely.
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." -Albert Schweitzer
How true this quote is! It was the generosity and unconditional love of friends that gave me hope and allowed me to have the time and space to sort through my situation. Instead of finding a place to unpack my boxes, I was gifted the opportunity to put my things in storage and stay with a generous friend. Then I received an invitation to sublet a little beach cottage in my favorite town for another six months.
During the first month of separation from my belongings, I went through a myriad of emotions ranging from anger to grief to relief. I was given the chance to reflect on what I had accomplished in my life up to this point and come to a place of gratitude for all the blessings I have received throughout the years. Then I began to see that this uncomfortable place I found myself in was exactly what I had been praying for and envisioning! The surprising lesson was that in asking for the expansion of my living situation, my work, my finances, and my relationships, I was imagining the creation of something completely new.
When we are focused and heart-centered, we must trust that we are in the process of co-creating our dreams. But the manifestation of our prayers may not unfold like we think they should. When we get really uncomfortable about "unfamiliar" circumstances, change is on the way!
In this process I have come to realize that I have been focusing on creating a big shift in my life. For at least two years my focus and intention has been to dream into being a way of life that I have not experienced yet. It has come to my attention that at a deep soul-level I really didn't feel like I deserved the abundant life I wanted and that I had become a master at settling for less and adapting to circumstances. This current experience is new. This is change. This is the shift I've been praying for. This is the beginning of a completely new way of being in the world!
So I find myself in a deep state of gratitude for all the "kisses" I've received from God/Source/Divine Wisdom. What seemed random during this process has turned out to be an intricately planned web of interconnected circumstances and relationships.
We are never alone. There are no mistakes. When we ask for change, and do our personal work to allow the shift we are praying for, "shift happens!" When we stay in a state of gratitude and thankfulness, we find ourselves in the presence of miracles and "magic."
"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." -John Henry Jowett (1864-1923)