My wife’s nephew has a serious physical disability, and he recently had a medical crisis. People said things like, “It’s so sad that he has to suffer.”
But here’s the thing — I have never known him to suffer. Simply stated, he does not interpret any aspect of his life as suffering. He is a joyful person, a joyful spirit, and his life is simply his life, and living is his joy. Debra sees this in him, and she connects with him in his truth — love and joy are their common experience.
Others are so committed to their belief in suffering that they can’t connect with the truth of who he is. Looking at him with long faces and sad sympathy, they never see the love and joy he radiates.
Debra’s nephew is a powerful example that love and joy are real, and suffering is an illusion.
Practicing appreciation isn’t necessarily about looking for and finding things to appreciate. Rather, it’s being aware, in the moment, of the things that please you. Practicing appreciation is noticing those things, and noticing the pleasure they bring you. You don’t have to search out something to appreciate — simply appreciate what is already there.
The breeze on your skin; a purring cat; birdsong; chopping an onion; listening to Bonnie Rait (or Nat King Cole, or…) making sauerkraut; getting into bed at night; waking in the morning; stars; sun; people; a particular person; smells; tastes; breathing; seeing a tree, a leaf, a flower; taking a nap; reading a good book; petting a dog; completing a task. Notice that thing, and notice the pleasure it brings you.
Then you can notice that one of the things that gives you pleasure is noticing the things that give you pleasure! Take just a second to feel all the pleasure. Receive it!
That’s one way to practice appreciation.
Then, once you’re appreciating all the things in your day-to-day life that bring you pleasure (so many!) you can experience the ecstasy of gratitude. These daily gifts of pleasure! Oh joy!
By the way, how’s it going with generosity?
I’ve talked about your aura of love. About my aura of love. But what does “aura” mean?
I find that it’s easier to understand my so-called energy field as a “bubble.” And it’s easy to imagine that my bubble is composed of love.
My lexicon recognizes “bubble,” but it’s not so sure about “aura.”
And one fun thing — when I’m in a car, or in an airplane, or on a bus, or even walking, my bubble just rolls along with me. I can expand my bubble to encompass any vehicle I’m in, indeed any space I’m in. And it just keeps rolling along, with me in it’s center.
And since it’s round, my bubble reaches below my feet. My bubble grounds me.
I’m loving my bubble of love!
Happiness isn’t something that just happens to you if you’re lucky. Happiness can be practiced.
It’s like a muscle. In many, it’s like a muscle that is too seldom used and has become puny. Build your happiness muscle! Practice happiness; practice appreciation.
When you walk through any door, pause and find something to appreciate. When you get in or out of your car; when you turn a corner; when you answer the phone; when you’re shopping for groceries; when you’re waiting in line — all day long, in every situation, find something to appreciate.
Practice appreciation assiduously. You’ll be happy you did!
“Everything the laws of the universe do not prohibit must finally happen.”
Stay open, stay vulnerable, stay free.
(The quote is from the novel The Time of Our Singing.)
By the way, how are you doing with generosity?
Spring is such a generous time of year.
Although spring is arriving at Blanco State Park, where I live in the winter, I do realize it’s not quite spring where many of you are. But maybe a great outpouring of generosity will attract spring to you.
Now is an excellent time to cultivate generosity.
First, notice how are you not generous in your life. Are you stingy with money, do you hold it close, do you spend it mainly on your own behalf? Then use money as a way to practice generosity. Give! And love the giving.
Are you stingy with your acceptance of others? Are you stingy with your curiosity about others? Are you stingy with your time?
Ponder this — the ways you are stingy are road signs directing you to the Way of Generosity.
Try it — between now and the fullness of summer, make generosity your spiritual practice.
Stay open, stay vulnerable, stay free. Cultivate generosity. And let me know how it goes.
A valentine exercise.
Pay attention to the expectations you have of the valentine/s in your life, especially any expectations you have of how your valentines should express their love for you. Rather than expecting them to show their love for you in the way that you would, be open to their way of showing their love.
Let me know.
Stay open, stay vulnerable, stay free. Eschew expectations. Cultivate acceptance.