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Monday, June 16, 2008

How to Stay Grateful: Stop And Smell the Roses

Stop and smell the roses. That is how we can feel grateful.

It is hard to stay grateful when everything around you is falling apart. At normal times, end of the month means struggling to pay the bills and monthly loan repayments on time. Now in times of rising prices such as the one we are facing, increases in fuel price automatically pushes up the price of other things, especially food and transportation prices. It goes without saying that prices of other consumer goods will also go up, eg., utilities, clothings, construction materials, etc., etc., which will surely hit hard on consumers. But what concerns common people like you and me most are the rising prices of food and fuel for these are our basic daily necessities.

Even as I write, common people on the streets in many countries have held and are planning to hold street protests to convey their anger and frustrations to their respective governments over the rising prices of fuel and food.

So, in the face of all these, how can we remain grateful?

Of course, it's hard. It is hard when our pay doesn't last even till three-quarters or even half the month, and we are perpetually indebted to credit card companies, loans sharks, friends and families. So, how to stay grateful, much less hopeful, on a day-to-day basis?

Well, my take is this. We actually don't have much choice but to be grateful. We have to feel grateful at where we are at, so that we have the strength to look forward to tomorrow, to have the hope to go on living.

The more you complain, the more you feel bad. The more negative thoughts you have, the more bad and stressful things will come your way. Since we expend more or less the same energy on 'giving thanks' as we do on 'making complaints', why not spend our precious energy on giving thanks and feeling positive? By being thankful and feeling good, we will attract more of the same positive feelings and good vibrations to us.


Yes, we just have to be grateful for what we have and where we are in life. How can we do this you may ask. Well, for one, just feel grateful. What I am saying here is...make yourself feel grateful. Of course, you can't force yourself to be grateful. Because the more you force yourself to do something, the more you will rebel. What I am saying is...make yourself feel grateful. You can actually do this. How?

You can start by taking stock of your own life. Of course, you cannot be taking stock of your life when you are on the go, or running around doing errands. You can only look at yourself and take stock of what's in your life by taking time off. I don't mean a vacation, or going off to some expensive getaway or retreat. What I mean is something close to what the old adage tell us: stop and smell the roses.

STOP...

To me, stop means take time out. You take time out, just sit still & breathe or you can meditate, your choice. You can actually do this everyday. The best time, for me, is to take about half hour off in the morning to meditate. You have to plan and accommodate for that half or one hour that you need to sit still or meditate, meaning, your alarm has to be set for that amount of time earlier. I am a working person. Every morning starts off with a rush, getting ready to work and the kids to school. That's routine; there's no escape. Now once everyone gets dropped off to where they should be, that's the best time I have to myself, that is until I reach my work place where all the madness starts again.

So I have this half hour or so to myself. And there is this tiny chapel on my way to work. So, everyday of the week, I stop by, say a little prayer, and meditate. When I say meditate, I don't mean those complex meditation and exercise that you have to pay good money for. What I mean is just sit still and breathe for a few minutes. I read somewhere (can't remember where exactly that most of the problems people have arise from their inability to sit still and and breathe for a few minutes.

You can perform this simple meditation by just sitting still and breathe, at first. Continue to do so for a few minutes, and then slowly, you can feel a stream of energy flowing towards you, and all you have to do is rest back into it, allow it to flow into you and accept it. Rest into this natural state of being. You will start regaining your energy and feeling refresh after a few minutes of stillness and silence.

Stillness and silence will give you the time and space that can lead towards this phase of returning to yourself...and finding the peace within. Peace of mind will allow you to give thanks.

...AND SMELL THE ROSES

Smell the roses just means appreciate life and give thanks. Be grateful.

How do you create gratitude? A feeling of gratitude can only come by look at things...at all things in life... in a positive way. Make the effort to see the good things in life. Appreciate the people and things in your life. Notice all the positive things that have happened to to you, and see all the beautiful things around you. Then give thanks to God or the universe (whatever your religion professes) for all the small miracles and goodness of life. Giving thanks is inherently appreciating life and being grateful.

You need to be grateful, grateful not only for all the positive things that have come to you but also for all the good things that will be coming your way. You can actually will the good things to come your way by giving thanks that they will come your way. In other words, be grateful also for the things that have not happened yet but are on their way to you. Gratitude will attract more good things to you, and will add to and accumulate more and more feelings of gratitude in you.

You see, you need to feel gratitude. Because feeling grateful will put you in the right frame of mind to enjoy life to the fullest.

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