I spoke with an old friend who’s having the hardest challenge of her life right now. Health crisis, money crisis, friends and family, living situation…by many measures the worst time of her life. It’s Thanksgiving, but what’s to be grateful for?
Since emotions are the Senses of the Soul, we know that the right thing to be feeling, is exactly what you are feeling. With SOS we accept a negative emotion completely so it can do its job to deliver us from trouble. You feel better when you work with, rather than against difficult feelings.
But you also have the ability to intend a positive emotion and enter that preferable experience. Having control over your ability to feel good is not to be confused with denial and not dealing with real feelings. We want a healthy balance between the ability to deal with real feelings as they arise, and the skill to lead yourself to a state you desire. So let’s practice that with Gratitude as our beautiful emotional goal and see if we can get there.
The amazing power of Gratitude, like every love-awakened feeling, is that it is impossible to feel it and to feel bad at the same moment. An “open heart” is a way we describe a flow of energy that not only feels good, but also does tremendous life-sustaining good for us.
(See “When Gratitude Eludes You” on Senses of the Soul’s YouTube channel for a quick practice to make this more powerful.)
Sit still, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Remember a time in your life when you felt loved. It might have been from a parent, grandparent or a friend, a pet or a sunset; it may have been brief and long ago. A moment of wonderful love that someone gave you; that moved you. Recall it, vividly, with all your senses. Relax and let the pleasant sensations take over your body. Let loving kindness come in abundantly with every breath, and then gratitude for it flow back out with your exhale. Immerse and surround yourself. Enjoy this experience for as long as you wish. It is real, and you created it. Love has a lasting effect: once felt it is forever available.
If you find too much pain inside to open your heart, sadness is another way.
Focus within and feel your own sadness and suffering. It is painful but bittersweet. Let its purifying burn flow through you unrestricted. Now expand awareness to remember all the suffering from your past. Now include the pain of all the people you have known, and so many that hear on the news, see in the streets and can imagine. Go ahead and let yourself feel the immense collective pain of humanity through all time. It all brings you “to your knees”. Our fragility is humbling. From what might start as sympathy, bring forth a desire to alleviate all of that suffering for yourself and everyone. Send out from your heart a burning desire for something better, stronger, higher.
Move your passion into compassion and caring. Once you feel that openness of the heart, love is awakened and available to you. Use it now as you wish; to be kind to yourself, to care about something, To be thankful. That feels good, and in turn does you good.
In Gratitude for You,