So, I was recently convicted…not of a crime punishable by the laws of this country but of what I would consider as more of a “spiritual crime.” I heard a sermon that “Read me my rights” and rightfully so. The “crime” I committed was: Being found unlawfully egocentric and lacking gratitude, which is punishable by spiritual law resulting in anxiety, depression, anger, resentment and getting exactly what you asked for but probably didn’t want! (Here are some tools for how to break free of it)
“What do you mean Audra?”
I’m no lawyer, nor am I a theologian, but here is my take:
Just as we have a set of laws for driving a car to ensure that all pedestrians and drivers are safe, I believe spiritual laws are set up in a similar fashion and designed for us to have the best life experience possible. Gratitude is a term I am sure we are all familiar with, especially since Oprah has gushed about her experience writing in her gratitude journal on a daily basis (a very beneficial practice I might add). I think this term is so familiar that we may overlook the supreme importance of affirming who we are in the present moment and accessing just how blessed we are in the here and now.
“What you focus on expands.”- T. Harv Eker
Choosing to focus on the good things that are currently happening in life is the key to unlocking the door to more good things. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
I’d read that scripture before but never quite knew the significance of it. Our minds are incredibly powerful. We can literally think a thing into existence. I’m sure I’m not the only person that thought about a friend you haven’t spoken to in days, weeks, or even years and when you do, moments, hours or days later they call you or you run into them. (Is that just me?) Imagine if we were to focus on positive things occurring in our lives or things we actually desire to occur…from finding a parking spot at the mall to the success of your new business or even meeting your soulmate. We all have the capacity to draw into our lives something…its up to us to determine what.
Scientists have discovered that the world is not made up of material elements but of energy. The human mind can essentially tap into that energy and manipulate it as it sees fit. That basically means that we can consciously focus on things that attract positivity into our lives or unconsciously focus on things that bring negative things into our lives. I use the terms “consciously” and “unconsciously” because I don’t think we intend to bring negativity into our lives but our minds are so powerful that if we dwell on anything that we do not wish to experience we end up experiencing it. I remember walking up to my apartment from the garage and seeing a cricket. I, of course, ran screaming to my front door filled with terror (yes I know it was just a cricket but those things jump!) I fumbled with my keys at the door scared for my life (you would have thought an ax murderer was behind me). I finally got the door open to my apartment… I rushed in and breathed a sigh of relief! I was safe. However, in my head, all I could see were those things leaping around on the ground as if they were trying to attack me. It made me feel itchy all over. I dragged myself to the couch to take a breath when I saw not one but two crickets in my living room leaping toward me! My sanctuary had been compromised! My domicile had been invaded! (Ok, scary story over now) Just so you know, I was able to get them out of there but why were they there in the first place? The easy answer is: They hopped in before I could close the door. The not so simple answer is they were so heavy on my mind because of my fear that I drew them into my home. I think that is how things work when we don’t practice gratitude. We allow fear, doubt, and other negative thoughts to take over and then they manifest themselves from our minds into our living rooms.
Gratitude has been my saving grace at another time of fear and uncertainty. I was acting in a stage play, in a professional theatre with 5 actors who were professionally trained theatre majors and I was a complete newbie to the craft. I had been on stage before as a
singer but not so much as an actor. Let’s just say for this show, I was not focused on the
depth of my character…I just didn’t want to suck! I was so nervous before opening night that my stomach was queasy…unbearably so. It was so unbearable that I googled “How to get over fear”, I clicked on a blog (yay blogs!) and saw a list of 30 things that I could do…”Being grateful” was on that list (#6, I think). That seemed like a pretty simple thing to do so I did it. I said a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of the play. I expressed my appreciation for the ability to share the stage with such talented performers and for the talent I had been given. When I tell you I felt like a 100lb weight was lifted off of me I mean it! I felt free to have fun at that point. I did that before every show and at the end of the run, my performance was mentioned in a review! ( “They liked me…they really liked me!”)
As for now, I see that the sermon I attended was to remind me that I am already winning whether I feel like it or not. I am in a good place but I have to think so. It is up to me (no matter what I am feeling or seeing) to find the thing that I can be grateful for…there is always something!
Keep a gratitude journal. Daily: write at least 5 things I am grateful for.
Get connected with other people who are on a journey of positivity! (i.e. church or spiritual groups, groups of drama-free friends, etc) Speak weekly or at least twice per month. There is power in numbers.