As the holidays approach, I find that my thoughts keep wandering back to my niece. She's a kind and intelligent little girl. She loves to laugh, sing, make up stories, and is often the case with other kind and intelligent children, she desperately wants a puppy. She dialed this order in to Santa, her parents, the tooth fairy, and anyone who might listen a solid year ago... Her parents, on the other hand, weren't nearly in such a hurry to grant this fairly adamant wish. Like any intelligent set of parents, they wanted to test their daughter's ability to handle the responsibility of a puppy. They cleverly devised a system. They drew up a chart with a list of chores that she should be doing weekly. It was explained to her that she would need to prove that she could: A.) Do the chores, and B.) Make this a routine that didn't require them to constantly remind her about. In other words, they were looking for initiative and responsibility. Could their daughter remember that there were things that she needed to do without her parents' constant reminder? Could she handle the responsibility of completing the same boring and occasionally even annoying task week in and week out? On the surface, this test seems simple enough; however, closer inspection reveals a rather clever design. My niece is still a very little girl. So, her chores are incredibly simple: watering house plants, putting toys away, making her bed, cleaning her room.
My niece's chore list all seem to have a commonality. They all require her to treat something in her life with respect. For example, take something simple like putting the toys away. Have you ever noticed that parents get very upset with their children when this doesn't happen? They don't like the mess, but they recognize that every time they buy a toy for their child, it costs them money. Toys cost money; money costs time. When the toys are left out to be stepped on and broken, I can't help but wonder if some of the frustration comes from the idea that their time has been devalued. The simple act of putting the toys away when they're not in use is a highly suggestive act. It reveals an underlying attitude of respect for the object, and gratitude for having it in your life. Moreover, parents seem to be a bit more generous when they feel like the items they've given are appreciated. In fact, isn't this just human nature? No one wants to give you a gift if you didn't appreciate the previous one, right?
This situation involving my niece provides some very real-world insight into the practice of gratitude.
Recently, we've discussed several laws of the universe, ideologies containing elements of universal truths intended to help us navigate the flow of life. Some of these universal laws are centered around the idea of "awareness." The Universal Law of Gratitude is almost entirely focused on awareness and is one of the building blocks of an abundant life.
The Universal Law of Gratitude is simple in its suggestion that gratitude breeds abundance. In other words, the more things you are grateful for, the more you will attract things into your experience to be grateful for. A gratitude practice is the cornerstone of a Law of Attraction practice. This is also why it pays to treat our money with respect, even if it appears that you only have a little of it. It is absolutely imperative that you handle that which you already have with love and respect. Sometimes, I hear people sing songs of complaint about how "broke" they are, and that their rent is too high, or that they "can't" save money. I've been guilty of this myself in past years, but I must say, we have to practice a different way. These ideas are quite literally money repellant. We must reframe these ideas. Again, I repeat: This takes practice. If we want to have more in our life experiences to appreciate, we must demonstrate that we are grateful for what we've already got. Otherwise, we are simply demonstrating with our behavior that we don't want the responsibility of having more of it.
Money is a responsibility, and just like my niece wants to be worthy of having a puppy, I too want to be worthy. I want to be worthy of the responsibility of handling more money. So, first I must demonstrate my gratitude for that which has already been entrusted to my care. As I've referred to before, we must stop the record of limiting beliefs that we've been playing over and over again. As illustrated by the previous example, none of us are "broke." We cannot tie our identities to such ideas, and must replace them with ones that lend themselves to gratitude: I am perfectly capable. Rather than the complaint that "my rent is too high," perhaps it is worth considering whether or not you would like to be a homeowner one day? That might also be considered an expensive endeavor. So, a replacement idea might be in the realization that this experience is preparing you for the responsibilities of homeownership. It's entirely too easy to claim that "I can't save money" if you're looking at the gap between where your savings account is at currently versus where you would like it to be. But could you bring yourself to look at each dollar you did save with love and admiration? Could you appreciate each and every one of those dollars and even yourself for what you were able to do? If you can love and appreciate what you did, and what is already there, you are demonstrating through your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that you want the responsibility of more to come into your experience. You can choose to use your attitude to either attract abundance or to repel it. The choice is yours.
Practicing gratitude for that which we can see is only one part of the equation; practicing gratitude for that which we don't see is the other part. It often feels more difficult. Interestingly, it seems easy for us to notice the "lack" of something in our experience. Again, this focus on "lack" is directly related to the limiting beliefs that we must continuously work to catch and release. I would challenge you to work on being grateful for that which you cannot easily see. Look at what's there. Ask yourself: What would I really notice if it were missing? My health. The fact that I have savings and available credit. I would miss that I can keep up with my rent/mortgage/bills. If suddenly, it was taken for me, I would really miss the fact that I get to work from home and have wonderful benefits like health, dental, vision, 401k, and many others. I would miss the overwhelmingly positive response I'm getting from people regarding my business. I would miss the relationships in my life. Perhaps, if I would miss the absence of these things so intensely, they are the very things that deserve my gratitude now.
As Americans enter a time where giving thanks is a deeply ingrained tradition, I challenge you to look at your own gratitude practice. How can you practice gratitude every, single day, and demonstrate through your behavior that you are ready, willing, and able to accept the responsibility of more abundance in your experience?
...and for those of you that may be wondering, yes, my niece is getting her puppy.
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