Gratitude for My Entire Life

Welcome! This blog post is inspired by a book I’m listening to called “Conversations With God” by Neale Donald Walsh. I’ve heard this book referenced many times by my teachers yet never felt a pull to read it. This changed two days ago, and so I’m now listening to the audio version of the book.

I spent last week on vacation. We traveled to the Los Angeles/San Diego area. It was a wonderful trip filled with all kinds of great and awesome experiences. However, all the time I was traveling I was confronted with my negativity. Negativity has been kind of plague for me in years past. I would spend huge energy trying to disprove or recover from negativity. I would generate negativity as a reaction to my inner fears.

Of course none of that reaction to or generation of negativity serves me very well. Normally negativity just damages my relationship with others. This is because for me, negativity takes the form of anger directed at fixing or correcting other people.

This morning as I was walking and listening to Conversations With God, I realized something profound. Negativity isn’t the issue. My anger isn’t the issue. Instead, anger and negativity are things to be embraced and loved.

I wrote on my social media this week “When stuck in anger ask, ‘What would Love do?’” I had no idea where this came from at the time. It just was served up by my mind when I wanted to share a thought of inspiration. Today it came home as I listened to Neale tell me about God’s unconditional love.

Lets go back for a minute to 1984. I’m standing in the garage of a house in Wasilla, Alaska. I am 15. I have loaned a man $150.00 so he can repair his car. He planned to and did repay me within a week. However, I never let myself trust him and I was filled with anger at the thought he wouldn’t repay me.

I was already, at that young age, putting myself in a place of solving problems for adults with money. This mostly came in the form of paying bills when my parents had trouble. In this case it was a loan to a friend who was letting my family, my mother, brother, and sister live in his house.

I was filled with anger as I stood watching him install the water pump. I was actually watching him because I wanted to be able to remove the water pump should he fail to repay me. Anger filled every part of my body at that time. I had no room for trust, gratitude, humility, or patience. That time in my life is the hardest for me to share, because I have felt great shame around who I was then.

I was so filled with anger that I was unable to demonstrate love. I was trapped in the fabric of my own mind. I could not imagine a sense of wonder, joy, or excitement. I was filled with rage, fear, and malice.  I had been praying so long and so hard for things to change that I had lost hope that even God would help me.

Now back to today — as I was listening to Neale and he was telling me what God said to him about prayer, I had a flush of realization. I was filled with gratitude for everything in my life. Since I was walking, I let my body just keeping making the motion, but I was beside myself. Even now as I write this, my eyes want to tear up. Joy is gratitude. Love is the source of my gratitude.

In that moment this morning, as I shifted my thinking and feelings, all of my thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions of the past shifted with me. They shifted without conscious thought. It was both instantaneous and complete. I realize now that all the mental shifts I’ve made have been like this — not only changing me in the now, but changing my perceptions and experiences of the past.

I realize now as I write this, the person I was at 15, the angry young man homeless in Alaska working to help support his family, is now only a thought. He has no place or part to play in the reality of now. Who I was, or believe I was, has no more relevance to this reality than my decision of whether or not I like the weather.

Yes, the memory of who I was is a reflection of some “now” that occurred. It is not a made-up fiction of my mind, but it is based on a now that no longer has any place in current reality. I can, instead of holding onto that past and old story, define my current reality from a place of love instead of from the emotional context of the past. I can love myself for all of my life, and not just a part of it, even though at a time in the past I did not.

With the context of love, I can look back on that story and reflect upon my vision of myself; I can look down upon that scene from a third perspective. I can see my friend installing the water pump with my younger self watching intently and love them both. I love the man who found a solution to his problem and love the boy who helped him. I can look on the scene from a place of love and not a place of fear and anger. In that time, anger was my reality. Today I chose love as my reality.

I have written here at the end of my posts before that I am grateful for you all. Today that sense of gratitude feels stronger and larger. I am filled with a heartfelt love from it. I am feeling God and I am in love with the world. Go with my love today.

3 thoughts on “Gratitude for My Entire Life

  1. Timely post for me. I also have been feeling more than normal negativity, in the form of complaining, inside myself and to others. This morning I committed to working on it. Thanks for giving me another tool!

    Right after I finished your post I remembered reading an article or post a few weeks ago where someone posed the question, what if you woke up in the morning and the only things that were left were the things you felt grateful for the day before. That is also a good motivator for changing ones thinking patterns!

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