Thursday, December 01, 2011

Message #17 - Count Your Blessings!

If I ask how you’re doing I’m likely to get an automatic “Great, how are you?” followed by a string of complaints. What’s going right is buried under a ton of petty problems. Stop it. Take time to Count Your Blessings!

Think about it. What has your attention is ‘stuff.’

She didn’t even call to say she’d be late.

The car needs to be fixed.

My boss doesn’t appreciate what I do.

I didn’t sleep well.

He didn’t even wish me happy birthday.

Stuff. You’re squandering your time and energy on relatively minor stuff. Yes, some of this stuff might be important. And yes, you may need to deal with it. But when you let this stuff keep you from seeing and appreciating what is wonderful in your life you are cheating yourself.

The calendar has days set aside for us to appreciate many things. We’re reminded to appreciate our secretary, our mother, our father, veterans, our country, famous dead people and if you’re Catholic a whole gang of saints. But there is no day set aside for you to appreciate your blessings. You’re on your own.

This is like learning a new skill. You’ll need some practice. An example is the air you breathe. While it is always there you are not aware of it, so it recedes into the background and is invisible. Only when you consciously think about breathing does air become a factor in your life. If your air supply were to be cut off you’d think about it real fast.

Another example is the things you see every day. Every day you probably walk or drive by some buildings or sights or people that would get your attention if you were seeing them for the first time. But if you’re seeing them for the hundredth time you don’t even see them. Snap out of it. Pay attention. Be conscious.

What is sure to get your attention is the stuff I talked about. They’re in your face and in your way pretty much every hour of every day. But your blessings? You take them for granted. Not only are they unappreciated, you don’t even think about them. So first you need to practice thinking about them.

Make a list. A Blessings List. You’ll be amazed at how much you have to be thankful for. Find a way to keep your list in your consciousness. If you don’t, your blessings will quickly become invisible again.

Practice every day. Don’t wait until Sunday morning when you go to church or Saturday in your synagogue or Friday in your mosque. Your blessings are 24/7. They don’t show up at a certain time once a week. So appreciate them more often than that.

You may find you want to be thankful for a different blessing every day. That’s OK, but if you do that be sure to change the order frequently so you don’t fall into an unthinking routine. There’s no right way to practice. Again, whatever works for you is what works.

Your goal should be to move beyond practicing. When appreciating all that you have to be thankful for is with you always you’re no longer a novice. You’re a master who now has the gift of knowing how to Count Your Blessings!


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