by Miranda Chapman
The practice of gratitude is powerful and can transform the lens through which I view the world and often I turn toward the pleasant rather than the unpleasant to focus my gaze.
Lately, I have been working with turning my gratitude toward the difficult, the challenging, the uncomfortable in my life:
I am grateful for the pain in my body which is a constant reminder of this vessel that carries me through each day, imperfectly but beautifully.
I am grateful for my addictions that demand I look at where I feel disconnected.
I am grateful for moments of total confusion as a reminder of how little is known to me or can ever be known.
I am grateful for incapacitating doubt because it is a guide into the self-imposed beliefs I carry that limit me and others.
I am grateful for conflicts internally and externally that continue to invite me to show up in kindness rather than to do harm to myself or others.
I am grateful for moments of total overwhelm that remind me to surrender the insatiable illusion of control.
I am grateful for procrastination since it helps me see the allure of resistance as well as to see what I am truly drawn towards.
I am grateful for fear as it demands I keep showing up unless I choose to give up.
As I turn toward the unpleasant I begin to honor my wholeness in a way that only shining light on the pleasant simply cannot. I begin to open more to the great wisdom that comes from difficulty and to the boundless lessons I can learn, if I am willing, from the inevitable obstacles of life.
Of course I am still grateful for all of the beauty and joy that surrounds me but that's easy: this — the turning toward the shadow — is where the wholeness resides.