The importance of gratitude

Excerpt from the Autumn 2004 Newsletter

To be grateful means living in the moment with an open heart.

In today’s society, many people are so busy, stressed, unhappy or anxious about their personal situation or the situation of the world at large that they forget all the good things that surround them. They are so focussed on what is wrong, that they lose sight of everything else. This can lead to a downward spiral of pessimism and despair.

One way to break out of this pattern is to consciously notice and appreciate all of the things that you tend to take for granted in your daily life – the roof over your head; the food on the table; the clothes on your back, your family and friends; your health, your pet, the beauty of a sunset, the smile of a child, the wild flowers on the side of the road.

Gratitude is a habit. It doesn’t come naturally to many people – we have to work at it. But the more you practice the easier it becomes until gratitude becomes second nature.

So make a point of seeing the beauty and goodness all around you. This might be difficult at first, but with a little practice you will find that there are a multitude of things for which to be grateful and the more grateful we are, the more joyous and fulfilling our lives become.

It is increasingly recognised that feelings of love, joy and gratitude are good for your health. When we are grateful, we radiate a positive loving energy to those around us, and we draw positive and loving experiences into our lives.

The importance of gratitude cannot be overestimated as it provides a filter through which to transmute the darkness into light. It gives us access to a very high level of consciousness and wisdom that can help us to find effective solutions for situations and challenges that we are facing.

For years, each time I walked through my garden all I could see were the weeds. Now that I realise the importance of gratitude, rather than feeling tired or discouraged, the garden fills me with joy. The weeds are still there, but my focus is on the flowers and trees and shrubs, the colours and shapes and textures of Nature. The garden is the same, but my way of seeing it is different.

The biggest stumbling blocks to gratitude are negative expectations and victim consciousness. If we stop seeing ourselves as victims of circumstances, we can learn from life’s lessons. When we have a positive attitude we draw positive experiences into our lives. If we project negative feelings and expect bad things to happen, then we are likely to attract negative experiences. This is called the Law of Attraction.

Luckily there are some very effective essences to help us become more positive and to assume responsibility for our lives. These include Blackberry (Spirit-in-Nature) for seeing the goodness within your self and others; it frees the mind from judgement, prejudice and negativity; Sunshine Wattle (Australian Bush) for those who project their negative experiences of the past into the present; and Wattle (South African) for those who continually expect the worst to happen. For those who feel bitter and resentful about their lot in life, essences such as Saule/Willow (DEVA), Southern Cross (Australian bush) and Yucca (South African) can banish victim consciousness, that “poor me” attitude, by eliminating old stagnant emotions and thoughts of lack and injustice.

To be grateful means living in the moment with an open heart. It means seeking the positive in every situation, and having faith that there is always a positive side, even if we can’t see it or understand it at the time. Look at the stories told by people who worked at the Twin Towers in New York but were late to work on the morning of September 11, 2001 and as a result are still alive. One person’s alarm didn’t go off, another was stuck in a traffic jam, another missed her bus, another’s car wouldn’t start, one person spilled coffee on his clothes and had to take time to change. How often do we let small things like this ruin our day, rather than being sure that we are right where we need to be, doing what we need to do, even if we don’t understand why?

Ian White has just introduced a new Australian Bush essence called Pink Flannel Flower. This essence is all about gratitude. It is a heart essence that brings you to a state of gratitude for all aspects of your life. It helps you to appreciate and take delight in the details and little things of life, to see and be aware of the blessings grows in one region of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and that no one has seen it flowering for the last 50 years! Nature gives us what we need when we need it.

Pink Flannel Flower also has an affinity for babies and young children. It will help keep both their heart and heart chakra open so that they maintain the high love vibration that they have been born with, as they adjust to the density of life on Earth. It is also a useful heart balancing essence for adolescents who are completely involved in computers and technology to the detriment of their social and emotional development.

There are also other essences that foster gratitude. Polyanthus (Pacific) helps us to welcome abundance into our lives by recognising and being grateful for what we have rather than focussing on what we do not have. Indeed the energy of gratitude is closely linked to abundance.

Buffalo (Wild Earth) grounds and connects us with the rhythms of the Earth, enhancing feelings of gratitude for the gift of all life.