The (unpopular) secret of gratitude…

Ranunculus FlabellarisSatya writes: Yesterday I had a busy day full of clients and Skypes and emails and errands and all those things that organise themselves into great long lists and make us anxious and knotty in our stomachs.

I had one free hour. I sat down with a cup of chai tea and two ginger biscuits dipped in dark chocolate. I listened to a Dharma talk by my teacher. I wrote notes about Honen and looked out into the garden where there was blackbird-song and apple blossom and a sprinkling of golden buttercups on the lawn.

I felt very grateful during this hour. The tea was fragrant and the talk was nourishing. The garden looked lush and green after a long day of rain. The buttercups were radiating golden light. Everything was perfect.

Feeling gratitude for the upturned faces of golden buttercups is easy.

But what about the rest? What about finding out about a huge tax bill, after we already committed to  pay for converting our garage to a therapy room for Kaspa? What about the interminable queues at the Post Office? What about the slugs eating my baby courgette plants?

Do I just write all this inconvenient or disappointing or terrible stuff down on the negative side of the ledger, and hope that my gratitude-for-the-good-stuff cancels it out?

The tax bill is showing me something about myself which still needs attention – a rush-to-buy, a lack of patience which has been getting me into minor trouble for many years. The money we will pay the government in taxes (some of it, at least) will pay for the roads I drive on and the friends who are getting financial support and all the other things we’re lucky enough to have access to in this country. We owe the tax in the first place because my book sold so well.

All those people in front of me in the queue at the Post Office got served before me – I had plenty of time, I wasn’t in a hurry. I can feel grateful that we have such a thing as a Post Office – in return for a fiver, they’ll take this book all the way to Venezuela for me. Pretty amazing!

The slugs. Hmm. Those slugs… Ah – phew. I’ve already written about the grace of slugs here.

On good days, I can feel grateful for all of the ‘awful’ things (even slugs) as well as the lovely things. Of course, I shouldn’t need to remind you that I am a human being, and I have as many failures-in-gratitude as anyone else. But when I can feel grateful, for all the slug-slime as well as for the ginger biscuits, then I feel happy.

Being happy makes it easier for me to be a nicer person. I can find compassion for others, I can be kinder to myself and to the world around me. I stroke my cats more. I’m more patient in the Post Office queue. I’m a less-critical wife.

But whether all that extra gratitude makes me a better person or not, it feels nice. It really does. And that’s good enough for me.

If you’d like to start strengthening your gratitude muscles (maybe you’ll even get some of the *happy* that I’m feeling right now), register for our ’31 Days of Gratitude’ e-course and start whenever you like.

*

Buttercup by mclcbooks

Comments & replies