Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gratitude as a flashlight

Gratitude is one of my frequent topics. Perhaps I over-do it. But I'm not sure that we can talk too much about gratitude. It simply is a life-changing practice. And the more we do it, the more natural it becomes to start our day with it, sprinkle lots of it throughout our day, and end our day with it as well. That definitely can be transformational.

Recently I heard author and speaker Deepak Chopra say that gratitude is like a flashlight that can help us get out of the darkness when we find ourselves there. I had never thought of it in that way before, but I like that. For when we're down and things look bleak, light can be added to our day by thinking of some of the good things in our life for which we're grateful. Doing so does not eliminate the problems at hand. It doesn't change our situation. But it can shift our emotional state, even if ever so slightly. That isn't to say that we can use gratitude as a way to skip the process of working through difficult issues or even as a way to heal from depression. Would that life would be so simple.

However, at the very least it can help us remember the "both/and of life"—that life can be difficult and that at the same time, we do have blessings and things for which we can be grateful. Both can be true. Feeling gratitude for whatever we can at those low moments can truly serve as a flashlight so that the darkness doesn't completely swallow us up. And if you've built up your gratitude muscles, it will be far easier to use them when those low times come around.

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