COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
Whenever I hear or think of the word "blessing" my musical mind always goes back to one of my favorite hymns I played in church as a kid, "Count Your Blessings." It was a happy, upbeat tune and people always seemed to enjoy singing it. The verses talked about some kind of trial or tribulation then would end by leading you to the solution: to "count your blessings... and it will surprise you what the Lord has done."
Do you count your blessings? Do you focus on the "good stuff" in life? Even when the "bad stuff" seems to be outweighing the good?
It's easy to get caught up in all the "bad" stuff that's happening in life - all the things that we DON'T want. Those things have a way of jumping up and down and grabbing our attention like unruly children.
And in many ways, we are "trained" to focus on the negative.
Growing up, if you're like me, you got attention most when you "acted up" or were doing the "wrong" thing. Accomplishments and a "job-well-done" didn't get as much acknowledgement.
Add to that the cultural attitudes and educational directives to focus on the problems and all those things that need to be fixed - (watch any news broadcast and you'll end up with a whole list of additional problems to add to your own.)
And after all that, if you still had any question about where to put your focus, Bert Lance nipped it in the bud back in 1977 writing in the Nation's Business:
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." (the British equivalent, "Let well alone.")
With all this, the message is clear:
Focus on the problems and the things that you don't want in your life in order to find the solution.
After all.... in order to come up with a solution, you have to know what the problem is, right?
Well.... yes and no.
"Yes" in that when we see something that we don't like or don't want or that's not working, we automatically send out an energetic signal that we want something better.
"No" in that if we continue to focus on the problem or what we don't want, we just end up getting more of what we don't want.
In other words, the "problem" :) is that we keep our focus on what we don't want - i.e. the problem. But as Einstein said, "you can't solve a problem with the same mindset that caused it."
To get out of a problem, you have to focus on the solution. To change anything in your life, you have to focus on what you DO want.
You may think this kind of thinking is "Polly-Anna." I used to think it was too. I would argue that, no, you have to be "realistic" and see things as they are so that you can know how to change them. Not this "happy-happy, joy-joy" stuff.
But my life experience proved otherwise. Focusing on all the things I did not like about my life just kept me in the middle of it. It kept me wanting, hoping, wishing things would be different. It kept me a "victim" to my circumstances and in denial about the part I played in all of it.
But when I sat myself down finally, and said, "Look, I don't like the way my life is going. What can I do to change things?" .... that's when my life started to turn around. I began to take my eyes off the "problem" (the outer circumstances) and started looking inward. I started looking at what was good about me and my life and began to focus on how to enhance those things.
And that's when my spiritual journey began - the journey to the center of ME - learning to tune in to my Soul Essence. Looking at myself from the inside-out. Looking deeper into my thoughts, actions, and beliefs to see how they were being reflected in the circumstances of my life.
It wasn't always an easy ride, and there were lot of bumps in the road, but the journey has been worth it. And the blessings along the way...... priceless.
What are you focusing on? Blessings or problems?
Take some time this month to reflect on the blessings in your life. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Start a gratitude journal. Record all the blessings in your life each day - people, things, events, etc. Come up with at least 5-10 each day. Make it a family affair! Then next time you or someone in your family is feeling down in the dumps, read through your Blessings/Gratitude Journal for a quick cheer-up.
Say a blessing - a statement of gratitude - before each meal. It doesn't necessarily have to be a big production (unless you want it to!) Just taking a moment to whisper a quiet "thank you" can set a healthier mindset.
Get into a "blessing" habit instead of a "cursing" habit. When things go wrong, or the copy machine jams up, or you get into some kind of an upset, instead of cursing the situation, person, or thing, bless it. The word "bless" comes from the old English, bloedsian, meaning "to bless, wish happiness, consecrate". "Sanctify" it (bless, make holy, pure) instead of "condemn it" (blame, damn it, pronounce judgment against it)
Be willing to forgive. To forgive means "to cease feeling resentment against; to pardon; to renounce anger." This is a lot happier place to come from - especially with those things in life we have no real control over. When an upset comes up (whether in the present or something you're remembering from the past), focus on your heart and say, "I forgive you (name the person/situation/thing) and release you to the Holy Spirit." (If you're not comfortable using "Holy Spirit", use God, Universe, Life Force Energy, or whatever feels right.) If you're really in an angry space and "I forgive you" feels like too big of a stretch, that's okay. All it really takes is a willingness. So begin with "I am willing to forgive you...." This can help shift the energy around the upset and help you see the "silver lining" behind it. (There's always a "silver lining" or "gift" there when you look for it.)
The holidays can sometimes be a mixed blessing - good times reconnecting with family and friends, bad times having to "deal" with irritating relatives or tense family situations. And because of this, the holidays offer a perfect opportunity to focus on Blessings! When "Aunt Sue" or "cousin Jerry" comes around (you know who they are in your family!) greet them with a smile and say one of these phrases silently: "(their name) I bless you" or "The Christ in me honors the Christ in you" or "namaste" (which means "I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me.")
If tense family situations come up or are anticipated, this is a great opportunity to set an intention for the outcome you want. How do you want to feel afterward? Set that as your intention. You can also say, "I bless this situation for the highest good of all." You can substitute the word "situation" with a name or title for it if you like.
When you focus on the blessings you'll begin to notice more and more of them in your life, and in the words of the old hymn, "... it will surprise you what the Lord has done!"
© 2009 Becky Waters
Definitions are from www.answers.com and http://www.thecolorsofindia.com/namaste/index.html
I would love to hear how this goes for you. Send me an email and let me know!
Also, if you'd like to learn more tips and techniques for getting through the holidays stress-free, I invite you to join me for the Stress-Free Holiday Secrets teleclass or live event.
And.... one more heads-up :) ..... Watch your email in the next couple of days for an announcement about a special FREE thing I'm going to be doing.... (I'm still percolating on the specifics).... If you're ready to make a change, this may be just the thing to get you moving!