I did an auditory double-take the other day when I heard a word that I had not heard before: Gratefulness. Oh sure, I’ve heard “grateful” and “gratitude”, but not the word gratefulness. And I heard it as Great Fullness, which it actually is. The feeling of Gratefulness is a great fullness in my heart, an experience of being full to overflowing.
The Opposite of Grateful
The opposite would be feelings of taking things for granted or complaining, nit-picking, fault-finding, and so on. And I practiced that for longer than I care to admit. I may be stuck on thinking I don’t have this or that, but whenever I step back and look at what I DO have, I am blown away with a great fullness. I have a roof over my head, an income, a car, indoor plumbing, hot water for a shower, a washing machine, and a fabulous cat. There are millions of people who don’t have those simple pleasures that I take for granted nearly every day. If I look only at what I don’t have, it is difficult to see what I do have. It is easy to see only the lack. We live in a society that tells us the a better car, a better mate, more money, a bigger house, will make us happy.
It Just Isn’t True
Maybe it’s because I was a teen in the early 70s and related to the flower child generation, but something has always told me that this simply isn’t true. The best things in life aren’t things at all. The important things are clean air, a walk in the woods or at the ocean, connection with family and/or friends, and having the freedom to move, think, and express that we enjoy in our country. And as a woman, the freedom that I have to get an education, vote, work, and easy access to birth control. These are things many women in the world do not have, and we have had for less than a century.
Behind the Iron Curtain
In 1998 I spent 10 days in the former Soviet Union; that was before the wall fell. The people were wonderful and the experience was amazing. But I will never forget what I felt about 45 minutes after our plane took off from Moscow headed for Copenhagen. I suddenly took a deep breath, feeling as though I had come up from being underwater a long time. I was certain that we had just left Soviet air space. And for the first time in my life, I understood what a privilege my freedom as an American is. I have a huge fullness of gratitude for that fact now.
A Wake Up Call
Look at Your Great Fullness, Not Your Lack
During this circular story of what they didn’t have, it was glaring that they weren’t looking at what they already had. So I prayed for this person’s financial independence, and the freedom it would provide. But many months later, I remember this person, the bounty that they had received, and how they were still frustrated and furious that they didn’t have everything they wanted. And they could not see that it was the very frustration and lack of gratitude for the bounty they had, that prevented them from feeling good with their current situation.
Gratefulness Focuses On Loving What Already Is
When we focus on what we don’t have, there is no opening for what we want to enter our lives. When we are grateful and happy, we are open to receiving more. So now whenever I catch myself thinking “I don’t have…”, I remember her, and check my perspective. I DO have so much. I have so much to be grateful for. Two eyes that work, two ears that work, two legs that work, a healthy body, a beautiful head of hair, a safe place to live with no bombs dropping in my country, freedom to pursue my dreams, the freedom to live any way I choose. I have so much that millions of people on the planet do not have. If I compare myself to the rich and famous that I see on television, I could make myself miserable. But if I turn the other way and look at all I have, then I am creating a space to welcome in so much more.
By allowing my heart and mind to be a great fullness for all that I have and know and am, I am making space for a great fullness in all areas of my life.
How About You?
What brings out a great fullness in you? What do you thank your lucky stars for?
If you would like some coaching about living a fuller life, I invite you to schedule a complimentary 30-minute Unleash Your Light consultation with me to see if we are a good fit.
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