Have you expressed your gratitude today? Should you?
The more I experience of life, the more I understand that gratitude causes good health on all levels – physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, you name it.
What is gratitude? I will give you my definition. Gratitude is a state where you are able to see both sides, and to then allow your heart to open like a lotus flower with joy and appreciation. Deep gratitude allows you to see a glimpse of eternity, and in that moment a quantum of light is formed, and you understand the meaning of unconditional love.
That is a mouthful.
I will give you some practical examples.
I was born in a country where white males enjoyed the benefit of a white dictatorship for decades. That then changed and the pendulum swung to the other side, where white males are a minority who are required to work for everything they want. They can no longer rely on their white skins to get to the front of the queue.
So how do they deal with it? I have observed two ways. The first is arrogant anger, because “they” are taking up too many jobs, too many opportunities, too many everything. The white dictatorship and its benefits have been wiped from their memories, and there is a deep anger. The second way to deal with the changed situation is unbelievable self-pity because “things are no longer the same” and they are clearly not coping. We are talking of suffering over decades here.
Speak to a white South African male and the conversation very quickly turns to crime, new ways of car-jacking, and the lost opportunities of their youths. Ask that same group what they have experienced over the past day to be grateful for, and what is in their future that gives them reason for gratitude, and within seconds you understand the meaning of the expression “raining on their parade”. A question about gratitude is a sure-fire conversation killer.
They have never been to Hungary. They don’t know that the majority of men in Hungary are white. They are unaware of hundreds of years of oppression by other white males. They don’t know how the white Hungarian males simply kept getting up time after time after being hit to the ground.
Another example. People complain very quickly about a lack of customer service, and often the sector of the economy who are in the limelight when it comes to customer service are not that well off. All they often have are their dignity and clean clothes. I have seen in South Africa what people often need to go through to get to work wearing clean, ironed clothes, and a lovely smile that shows their caring about people. I have also been to shops in France where I would not dare reaching out to touch or – heaven help me – try on an item. In more than one shop I felt guilty about entering and showing interest in the wares. Many years ago, on my first trip to the United States, I was in a grocery store. I gathered my shopping and took my time walking to the checkout counter. I heard a public announcement asking a cashier to go to the checkout. It took me a few seconds to realise that the reason for the public announcement was me approaching the checkout counter and they did not want to let me wait. I felt special and important. I learnt to feel gratitude for good service, and to provide excellent service where I can.
Oh yes, and how is the infrastructure in your country? Are there potholes in the roads? Are people complaining about the politicians who have no desire to fix the potholes? Have you been to Portugal? In recent years, with EU funding, some roads have been upgraded. Despite that, I visited the country on a few occasions where I had to use a taxi that was falling apart, or a rental car that was rattling from having to navigate too many potholes and dreadful roads.
Do you complain about Irish or South African people being too talkative and invading your personal space? Have you been to Finland where people hardly look you in the eye? Or to Italy where people turn away from you in disgust because you speak English and therefore must be from England? Rather give me the South African Ubuntu where a black stranger addresses me as “mammie” because he sees me as his mother – one of his many mothers.
Are you in a job where too much is expected of you? Would you resign at the drop of a hat for a better salary, purely because you can? I saw factories in Egypt where children are employed to weave carpets because their fingers are small and nimble. They would not dare complain, because that job feeds a family.
Do you take your health for granted, or are you one of the victims of the pharmaceutical industry? I have been exposed to so much information on the internet which has helped me to make lifestyle decisions resulting in excellent health. This seems to be more and more an exception. I am employed by a company which will expect me to see a Western doctor and get a medical certificate if I feel unwell for more than two days. Consulting a homeopath or any other alternative energy healer does not fit within the rules. Getting in the queue at the pharmacy to gratefully accept your monthly prescription of drugs is part of the culture – not for me. Putting on a funereal voice when referring to a cancer victim who believes that chemotherapy will not beat their compromised immune system, is what you do. Don’t even think of talking about an alkaline diet, cannabis oil or sound therapy in the same conversation where the word “cancer” is used – you are very quickly branded as a heathen. I am incredibly grateful that I have ben exposed to such a wide array of information and that I am where I am.
I have had people look down on me because of my Afrikaans accent. These people invariably spoke only one language – English – and decided that my accent lowered my IQ. The reason why I speak with an Afrikaans accent, is that Afrikaans is my first language. I also understand Dutch and German, have studied French – which I don’t claim to speak or even understand after so many years. British retirees in Spain refuse to learn Spanish and expect the locals to serve them in English. Americans who are limited to English daily show their worst side to other Americans whose first language is Spanish. I am grateful that I am from a country with eleven official languages, and that I can at least greet people in four of those languages.
What other complaint do you like to take for granted and wallow in every day?
Did you know that over and above the various forms of energy that engineers and scientists can measure, there is another form of intelligent energy that surrounds us? That intelligent energy grows when we make choices that bring us closer to Love and gratitude, and it shrinks when we are exposed to damaging and negative thoughts. Talk about crime and shortages and discrimination all the time, and see what you attract to you. Talk about every single moment in your day that brings a smile to your face – or to the face of someone you encounter, and feel and see what you attract to you.
Last week a black school boy stepped aside so that I could use a part of the sidewalk where I could avoid a burst water pipe. I felt gratitude because he did that. I would not for a moment have hesitated to do the same for him, but on that day I reached the spot first. More recently I entered a shop, and a young Indian boy said “hallo tannie” – Afrikaans for “hello aunty”. My heart immediately felt warm. This child felt free to address me in this respectful and friendly way in one of the at least two languages he speaks. His grandfather would not have dared to address my grandmother as anything other than a cold and distant “madam” or “missis”. I wanted to hug this boy because he made me aware of how lovely interaction between people can be.
I have also discovered that the more I see and acknowledge this intelligent energy that makes me feel good, the more I attract people to me who radiate this lovely energy. Does this mean that nothing “bad” will ever happen to me? On the contrary. Right now, I am dealing with a situation where a person believes authority means the right to shout at people in the workplace. I have to put a protective layer of energy around me every time I am in the presence of this person. This energy is incredibly destructive and not pleasant to deal with at all.
However, I have also learnt over the years that the Universe is in complete balance. We need to be aware of the dark side, so that we can recognise and appreciate the light side. We need to be aware of the light side, so that we can understand the wisdom and experience that the dark side brings to us. The more we experience, the closer we get to balance and having a balanced view of everything. That is gratitude. I have seen the dark side in many different countries, and that highlights for me the light side that locals choose to ignore. I have experienced the light side in many guises in my journeys, and that sustains me when I deal with an imbalance to the dark side.
I nowadays find myself waking up after a good night’s sleep – which is also routine for me – and expressing my gratitude for what I woke up from and for what lies ahead. Gratitude is the strongest drug that I am willing to take – because I love the side effects.