I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. ~G.K. Chesterton
Life is a topsy-turvy rollercoaster and just like everyone’s, my life has had its up and downs. For some reason, I’ve always found myself trying to make sense of it all – putting the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that would make sense. Throughout the years, all of this soul searching has brought me to some pretty remarkable places, physically – mentally – and spiritually. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always felt like there was something that I was “meant to do,” but as I’ve aged, I now see that we each have many callings.
In 2007, I experienced my own “dark night of the soul.” Like so many other American’s, the country’s economic downturn saw me laid off from my job of over 20 years and questioning everything that I believed. It wasn’t just about the job, it was also about people and meaning and personal worthiness. I was thrown into a spiral of never-ending questions and very few answers. It forced me to drop my exterior persona and really look myself in the eyes for perhaps the first time in my life.
I’ve often heard it said that you must “die unto yourself” to become something new and wonderful – and I think that’s exactly what happened to me. What started as confusion became knowingness, sadness became wonder, and from that feeling of emptiness something within me became fulfilled. While I have always believed in a higher power and prayed regularly, this experience really turned my perception of spirituality inside out, with the feeling that God was inside me trying to get out (instead of the more commonly reversed notion). My belief is now that spirituality is not something we do – but instead an integral part of who we are.
Praise the bridge that carried you over. ~George Colman
Instinctively I felt like I needed to write it all down in a book and that’s how “Pain, Passion & Purpose” was born. It was my first “calling.” Someone recently called the book a “God-send” and that’s probably the best actual description of it. Being the vehicle for that book was an honor and privilege – but its message most certainly came from something greater than myself. Since that time, I’m off tackling a new calling – to become a psychotherapist. While I love hearing from people who have read the book, it’s extremely rewarding to be able to sit face-to-face with people and see their transformations first-hand.
Since my own whirlwind awakening, people have often asked me for a spiritual crib sheet. They want to know the one most important piece of information – the seed of it all. While I must admit it took some reflection on my part, I would say that gratitude is probably the best answer. When we are grateful, we are truly living in the moment by appreciating what is before us. Gratitude humbles us by paying homage to whatever (outside of ourselves) has given us the good grace to receive these blessings. Gratitude focuses our attentions and energies on what is right with the world – instead of what is missing. And most of all, gratitude makes us feel good and we are meant to feel good.
While the spiritual side of life can’t be reduced to just one thing, I would say that a grateful heart is an open heart. There are mysteries and wonders waiting to be revealed to those with an open heart – and that’s how love (the ultimate transformational power of Spirit) is felt and expressed. Regardless of what you call it, it appears that the Universe delights in opening the doors to further discoveries for all those who focus on gratitude.
And even after a spiritual awakening, life is by no mean perfect – but somehow you’re able to take the next steps knowing that the right roads will present themselves. It’s freeing to realize that you don’t have to do everything yourself. You just have to keep moving forward. And for that, I’m grateful.
As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. ~Terri Guillemets
Copyright © 2016, marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose, a Self-Help/Motivational finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards.