Have you ever stopped and thought about all the wonderful things that make up your life? All of them?
Have you ever paused long enough to be grateful for all of those wonderful things?
I thought I did, but a book I picked up recently showed me I had a loooong way to go:
Rhonda Byrne is also the author of the mega-selling book and DVD, The Secret, which explains the Law of Attraction. In this book, she focuses on the power of gratitude.
She begins with a passage from the Gospel of Matthew that seems to be suggesting that the rich will get richer and the poor, poorer:
Whoever has all will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.
She suggests that we can unlock this confusing passage by revealing one hidden word:
Whoever has gratitude will be given more, and she will have an abundance. Whoever does not have gratitude, even what she has will be taken from hir.
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Note: I took the liberty of changing the pronouns to make them more inclusive–‘she’ includes ‘he’ and ‘hir’ is a hybrid of ‘his’ and ‘her’ (I can do that because this is my blog.)
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This same message–that gratitude is the key to an abundant life–is present in the Koran (in fact, it is at the core of all the major religions and indigenous traditions) and has been practiced and preached by a long line of sages (Buddha, Lao Tzu, Krishna) and leaders (Gandhi, Lincoln, Einstein).
Gratitude is the key to harnessing the power of the Law of Attraction which states, in a nutshell, ‘like attracts like.’ In the realm of thoughts and feelings, this means that whatever you think and feel, you attract.
So, if you think about how unhappy you are or feel worried or angry or afraid about your health, your relationships, or your bills then you will attract more worry, anger, fear and unhappiness in those areas of your life.
On the other hand, if you can think about what you are truly grateful for–the aspects of your job that you love, the laughter you share with your child, the moment of communion with your friend/parent/lover, the money available to pay a particular bill–you will attract more of those things into your life.
So, it appears that while the word ‘please’ is surely important to teach our children, the real magic words are ‘thank you.’
Rhonda insists that gratitude is magic. In this book, she presents 28 days worth of magical gratitude practices. Ideally, a person would do them consecutively so that gratitude becomes a deeply ingrained habit.
I’m on Day 14 and, although I haven’t done all of the practices consistently, I’ve already experienced some of that magic.
I recently joined Curves, a women’s workout facility in my town. Since reading this book, I strive to make every step of the ten minute walk to the gym a ‘thank you’ for everything from the sunny day to my strong legs getting me there to my healthy heart pumping the blood through my body.
One day, as I left the facility, I was feeling good about the workout and excited about returning tone and strength to my weak upper body and grateful for Curves being so close. I made sure to look the owner right in the eye as I said, “Thank you for making this place available for us Didsbury folk.” You would have thought I had handed her a winning lottery ticket. Her eyes lit up and she broke into a huge smile that shot straight to my heart and sent a rush of warmth through my entire body. It was a cold day, but I was warm and cozy all the way home.
Pretty cool, eh?
And there’s more.
Rhonda’s Day 5 exploration of the topic of money was a revelation to me. Thoughts about money can easily become swamped in a sea of negativity (who has never spent a moment worrying about money?) but she invites us to consider our childhoods when we had absolutely no earning power and say thank you (and truly feel the gratitude) for all the places and times where money was paid for us.
Her questions made me realize that, despite my adult-looking-back belief that we were poor, I always had food to eat; I had a clean, warm place to live; I received an education and there was a bus to take me to school where I always had a lunch as well as all the school supplies I needed; we didn’t take vacations, but we went to the lake from time to time and I got to go to camp one year; I received a longed-for typewriter as a gift one Christmas; I had a bike, cats and dogs, some toys; I may not have liked the clothes I had, especially as I hit my teen years, but I did have clothes . . . and shoes for my feet; we went to an occasional movie; I got to play volleyball in high school; there was medicine when I was sick; soap and shampoo and a toothbrush and toothpaste; we had a vehicle to travel in; we had a television and a phone, electricity and running water. Rhonda points out that all of these things cost money and I received them all–free of charge!
As I pondered this, I felt truly grateful for all I had received as a child. And that spilled over into gratitude for my father and how hard he worked to provide these things for us. And for my mother who stretched his paycheque to fit our needs. That realization, and the gratitude that accompanied it, stayed with me for days.
About a week later, I was one of the feature authors at an event at Self-Connection Books where I got to meet other authors and talk to customers as they browsed the store. I was there four hours and sold 14 copies of my book, Leaf.
I attended a lot of Christmas markets this year–most of them 6 – 8 hours long. One even spanned two days for a total of 13 1/2 hours. Yet my 4 hour stint at Self-Connection Books (at that point I was 9 days in to my gratitude practice) blew the others out of the water.
And that’s not all.
I arrived home to find $20 bills spread over my bed. My husband had won the 50/50 draw at an event that same day!
I, of course, credited this windfall to my gratitude practice, but Stephen insists that, since he bought the ticket, and especially since he’s been playing around with his beliefs around how much success he can tolerate as per the Upper Limit Problem, he created the money influx.
Doesn’t really matter. It’s still very interesting.
It reminds me of something I once heard:
the only prayer one need every utter is “Thank You.”
That is the prayer I sing and dance and whisper and shout to all of you. Thank you for your beautiful presence in my life. I wish you
peace and love
knowledge of your own value
and buckets and buckets of gratitude
Look at that! A Christmas tree, loaded with gifts!