Gratitude for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It is the month of gratitude, or rather the month we collectively consciously think about gratitude. Here in the States, Thanksgiving is on November 26th and on that day, the country will be peaceful and quiet as we gather with friends and family to share a beautiful feast together.

Grateful for this place, The Land of the Medicine Buddha in Santa Cruz

This time of year, many of us start thinking about what we are grateful for. Most of us think of the obvious – food, shelter, loved ones, warm clothes, etc. I for one, am super grateful to be living in our first house after six years of living in various bleak apartments. I’m also grateful for the love that has been in my life this year, sunny days in Seattle, the trail by the lake, and the Beecher’s cheese I’ve stumbled upon in Seattle.

While we think about gratitude, it is also natural to think about the things it is difficult to be grateful for. Personally, I’ve faced many challenges this year, and really, who hasn’t? I’m learning though, that gratitude encompasses the not so obvious.  In my own life and after ten years of working with clients, I can see that everything that happens to us is ultimately trying to bring us closer to wholeness and greater freedom inside. Everything we experience is here for our upliftment. Whether it be trauma, death of loved ones, illness, financial loss, heartbreak, or other kind of challenge.

All that we experience is here to serve us.

Even the struggles, challenges, and difficulties are ultimately here to work for us. And for that, I am grateful.

It may not be obvious how a difficulty is here to serve us, and that’s ok. Sometimes difficult experiences come in to shift us onto our true path, sometimes they are here to clear a karma, sometimes they are here to help us to release our grip on external safety so we begin to find safety within.

Everything we experience is here to ultimately uplift us. It may take time, it may take help, it may take desperate prayers, but someday, and in some way, we will eventually begin to understand how the hard things in life helped us.

It isn’t easy, and I know. But eventually, you may even find gratitude for even the experiences in your life you’ve labeled as “bad” or “unfair.”

The deepest gratitude is coming to a place of gratefulness for all the experiences in your life. All of them.

And if that seems preposterous or impossible, that’s ok too. Can you hold the possibility for yourself that one day, you might, just possibly, maybe see how this difficult thing has served you? All you have to do is stay open to the possibility that someday, in some way, a higher understanding of your life and your challenges might hit you.

A deeper gratitude is waiting. A gratitude that encompasses all of our experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can tap into that gratitude, great. You’ll feel a warmth so deep in your body, it will feel like coming home. If not, that’s ok too. You are still valuable, lovable, and completely worthy. Nothing will ever change that, and for that, I am grateful.

The Blessing I Use Before Sessions

IMG_2718This is a version of the blessing I use when starting sessions with clients. It is a great one to use before beginning any spiritual or psychological work. I tell my clients to use what words work for them. If “God” or “Christ” aren’t your thing, it isn’t a problem. Just replace those terms with whatever fits.

A Blessing of Alignment with God

Father-Mother God, we ask right now for the presence of the Light of the Holy Spirit and the Christ to surround, fill, and protect each one of us, so that whatever takes place during this process will be for the highest good of all concerned.

And for anything that is taken from us at this time, we ask that something of equal or greater value be put in its place.

We would also ask for a special blessing that through this process of aligning ourselves with the highest good, we may open to a new awareness of our divinity and our greatest trusting of God’s love for us.

– John-Morton