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From Struggling to Grateful

A Journey towards True Appreciation

Am I the only one that rolls her eyes when searching (read that as 'googling') for ideas on say:

  • positive thinking

  • spiritual health

  • happiness and joy

  • mindset

  • mental and / or physical health

and every one of them lists gratitude as a solution for improving your life experience?

Or you're in a conversation on the topic of transformation, like I was the other day about being a generator versus co-creator, when gratitude is offered up as a way to manage emotional and physical pain?

Please don't get me wrong. I fully recognize and understand how critical gratitude is to our wellbeing ... although, that wasn't always the case. It took a minute ... if it is SO good at resolving all manner of human pain, then why do so many suffer?

From my point of view, we're screwing something up because the number of people experiencing some form of human discomfort is not decreasing. Who knows? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that when a person is in the throes of a painful situation, finding your way to gratitude is not unlike trying to get yourself out of a mud hole when your plan for the day did not include four-wheeling in the first place. It's seems to be the least likely solution ...

Can you imagine ... being in a ditch kindly saying, 'Thank you for this experience!'? Chances are the answer is, 'Yeah, no!'

How does a person appreciate the crappy side of life?

The accepted belief for most people is 'the ups and downs of life are to be expected'. Keep in mind, acceptance is to receive life and you manifest what you accept.

Consider the following:

  • yin / yang

  • positive and negative

  • without the darkness you cannot see the light

  • good / bad, right / wrong

These have become a common reference when talking about human emotions. Yet, what is the point to creating such extremes? I don't know one person that is fascinated by their emotions. We take them as they come and seem to accept emotions as us (not 'is' ... that's not a typo) rather than a guidance system.

In a recent conversation with an AI chat bot, I asked it to describe the phrase 'feeling high'. This was the response:

There are many ways to describe feeling high. If you’re looking for a more formal or appropriate word to replace the word high when writing “feeling high”, you could use the word euphoric. Other words that could be used to describe feeling high include:
Feeling alive
In high spirits
In good spirits
Please note that the word “high” is often associated with being under the influence of a substance, so it’s important to use the appropriate word depending on the context of your writing.

Isn't this the reason anyone takes up a hobby or two? Or takes vacations? Or enjoys an alcoholic beverage or two? How about the fact that cannabis has been legalized in 24 states in the U.S. which includes recreational as well as medicinal...? Lest we forget psilocybin.

Don't people just want to feel good ... uplifted ... lighthearted?

I know I do. The search for inner peace has been a pursuit of mine since childhood. I have no doubt it was a factor for why I turned to drugs and alcohol earlier in my life. Feeling good about myself, let alone life was intermittent at best because I, like so many people, subscribed to the belief that you had to escape in order to relax which included my parents.

Overwhelmed and swirling in a sea of emotions, I sought relief just like everyone else

Work hard before play ... was my family mantra. And as I grew older, I saw evidence of it everywhere, and still do. More people than can be counted, work hard for their vacations. Today, life is increasingly intense due to a constant stream of information via social media and the internet, making the search for ideas on how to relieve stress not just a popular trend but hashtag too!

Fortunately, there are many guides with suggestions, classes and products. I even wrote an article on essential oils for stress and anxiety which you can read here. In it, I share my recommendations as well as ones to reconsider. I must confess, it's only a starting point because my understanding of oils differs from what is commonly shared.

The path to consistent stress relief and a genuine sense of inner peace is not mainstream by any stretch of the imagination. Honestly, it requires an entirely different vantage point that I touch on in my previous post, Healing is Acceptance

A challenge I recently faced was feeling emotionally discouraged. 

The idea of integrating oils as part of a daily lifestyle lights me up and has for nearly 40 years. At the same time my experience suggests 'people aren't interested in what I have to say'. I mean how is this possible given I'm following all the business advice that includes 'do what you love'!!

Essential oils make my heart happy ... why is that insufficient?

Mind you, 'people aren't interested' is a very old interpretation of mine that triggers a deeply rooted emotional reaction. An older version of me worked furiously to get people to know oils like I knew oils. At least this is the monologue in my head.

I know. Many people are into oils ... they just didn't know them as I did!

Can you feel the intensity? I was trying to force feed information much like a parent trying to get their kid to eat something they're turning their nose up to! Instead of tuning in and feeling grateful that other people were actually enjoying them, I was consumed with not feeling appreciated and reacting out of fear.

Not feeling appreciated and afraid I didn't matter ...

This was the energy running my life for quite a while which led to countless setbacks. Countless.

Although I was developing 'what I thought' was a spiritual life and repeating such things as 'everything is happening for a reason' and 'the Universe is conspiring in your favor', I had no clue about the magnitude of their meaning.

Praying for signs ... the perfect person or opportunity. Making jokes about my ability to read texts and how much I would appreciate a few words from God. I believed the solutions to my problems would magically appear ... in the world around me.

At least I was hopeful.

Gratitude was a novel movement in the early 2000's. I was introduced to which offered business sized cards with sayings to handout. I thought it was incredibly cool and to this day, I receive a daily quote from them. On some level, it made sense. Saying 'thank you' was a part of my upbringing. Giving thanks for the gifts and food we received was expected.

After that, everything else was taken for granted.

And as I write this, there's no mistaking it. Uttering the words, 'thank you' was just that ... lip service. BUT, we didn't know any differently!

How do you teach appreciation? Are children genuinely grateful or are they doing what they're told to do and going through the motions minus the energy of gratitude?

Motion versus E-motion (energy in motion)
Surface level versus Deep

My father used to say 'you have to work for something in order to appreciate it'. Although I don't fault him, my experience with this belief was of a toxic nature, meaning there were expectations placed upon us before he'd give anything to us, which honestly never generated a sense of gratitude. It felt hostile more than anything because 'Why should I say thank you? I was forced to work for it'... His words were wisdom when you get your head out of thinking negatively.

Work for something in order to appreciate it ... you won't come by anything without investing yourself and that includes gratitude!

Saying 'thank you' was something you said to be polite...

Societal standards foster an external focus that emphasizes emotions are triggered by other people and circumstances which leads to a variety of feelings on the inside.

Although the cultural narrative is shifting around this, collectively, we remain fixed on believing external factors are the cause of our emotional reactions ... from joy to pain.

This isn't to say we don't experience pleasure and upset as a result of our interactions with people and circumstances ... and in some cases ... horrific tragedies (which would make for a dynamic conversation at some point) ... the emotions that come up are because of you and only you.

Experiment with this the next time you are by yourself.

  • how you're feeling?

  • what were you thinking about?

  • choose a different thought. (If you were going over a problem, choose one you like. If you were enjoying a memory, choose something you don't like.)

  • notice a change with the way you feel

  • that's a valuable ability you just experienced

(I'll write a separate post on the difference between emotions and feelings)

Feeling something, let me know I was alive. Sounds strange ... maybe ... and when you spend years rattled by the experience of emotions, doing what you can to be as numb as possible so you can go through the motions and act as if (a recommendation that causes my stomach to turn), a return to feeling was a treasure I was willing to experiment with because nothing else was doing it for me!

As I entered this unexplored territory of feelings, my head interpreted the sensations differently, yet they both seemed to emanate from the same place.

For as much as I sometimes wish I had paid closer attention to this earlier in life, I accept that I lived with a well reinforced ego protecting my heart that required a few knocks before allowing entrance.

By tuning into the inner workings of my mind AND heart, I gave myself permission to be with the ups and downs which took intentional attention. As I grew more comfortable with this experience, I eased up on the judgment of right / wrong and good / bad.

I allowed all of it.

Through my work with oils and the epigenome, I discovered

  • that every chemical the body produces activates inflammation as well as deactivates it.

  • that the nutrients in food like gluten aren't bad for you. It's a protein the body struggles to digest and assimilate when reacting to stressors.

  • that homeostasis in the body requires both positive and negative feedback. Otherwise the system is unable to self-regulate. Science has discovered that negative feedback preserves the necessary communication within an organism. Positive feedback pushes specific processes until something is accomplished and then it attempts to hold the body in that state. Hence the need for negative feedback ... to promote a critical pause so a system can fully rest, assimilate and restore. This is why you sleep...

Since nature operates in this manner and humans are nature, then many of us are out of alignment with Nature. Talk about the big 'AHA!'

This revelation was the answer!

  • Pain is not resolved when you ONLY give thanks for the positive things in life.

  • Thank you, grateful, appreciate, etc are words. Nature responds to energy. The energy behind your words is what matters, not the words themselves. This is why saying positive things is useless unless ... you FEEL the word you're speaking. In other words, your energy must match your thoughts and words. This is the foundation of integrity. Any reservation behind what you're thinking or saying and the energy is out of integrity.

  • Nature honors energy

  • I'll write more on this in another post SO for now remember, it's ok to have reservations. You're being kinder to yourself when you acknowledge the reservations.

  • Acceptance is the gateway to ease. Pain is dis-ease ... Acceptance offers far more than pretending you don't have doubts.

  • Pain is released when you accept AND appreciate the negative

What does it take to go from struggling to grateful ...

author Tammy Davis

Accept yourself right where you are ... the gripes, upsets and never-ending pain of life ... lessen. Ultimately, they are opportune moments to unearth your very Nature!

You have negative reactions for good reason. It's ALL for your protection. It's not a generational curse ... it's a generational cure when you allow yourself to witness yourself with Grace.

Gratitude is how you bless yourself!

Forget about being grateful for things ... start with yourself ... you are a blessing!

Why bother with any of this?

Because for me, I was rejecting the negative aspects of myself. This is why things were wrong outside of me. However, I didn't do this for me. I did it for my kids.

Something I learned many years ago while studying psychology: when a divorced parent actively expresses harsh words and dislike for the other parent, it affects the child BECAUSE they are a part of the other parent. In their mind, as you reject the other, you are rejecting a part of them.

In my heart, I felt that by rejecting certain parts of me, there was a rejection occurring within them because they are a part of me and they witnessed plenty of painful moments with me.

Coming into wholeness heals.

As I actively began accepting my ego parts, the relationship with my kids miraculously expanded! AND I DO NOT use the word miraculously in gest. Without forcing anything, the pains felt between us dissolved.

If this piques your interest, I am more than happy to speak with you about your thoughts. Just shoot me an email!

Truth is not about right or wrong. Truth is not simply what is believed. A lie believed is still false.

Truth is the wisdom that arises from a moment or experience and the meaning you assign to it ... how it influences you! Therein lies your Truth as well as mine ... and that makes it profound.

“The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”

Niels Bohr


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