The latest cool phrase circulating the universe is “I’m going through a process”, or my favorite, “I’m just going through my process.”
Let me help you out–we all are. Life itself is but one long series of processes (Heavy, I know. But you don’t come over here for light stuff…). It is the process to becoming grateful, even when you don’t want to be, or see a reason to it what we want to work on. Or should be worked on more than anything else.
The definition of process is an series of events that lead towards a specific goal or end. In this definition, we are all on a process. These series of events are neither good nor evil–they are only steps. They can be either in the presence of significant stimuli or stressors. This is not said to excuse personal accountability or responsibility. On the contrary, it evokes it! What end do you want? What are you seeking? What do you want to seek you?
For this particular series of events, the hardest thing to do (or become) is grateful. Being grateful requires you to be in a moment, present in that moment, even if that moment is uncomfortable. The goal in being present is to realize the discomfort is temporal, not permanent. It is to realize what is happening is either to teach, to warn or make aware. Those experiences are what determine the next best thing to do. Those experiences, your learning or survival from them, is what roots you in gratitude.
In sorrow, in pain, when people leave your life—these things are not mean to destroy you. Even though it feels like you will. There is one thing that all these things, all these emotions teach is to be present. In being present, you must pay attention! Gratitude teaches us to be patient and focus. For me, in losing my father and grandmother, it was easy to fall into grief and despair. It would be easier to stay there! But, what I have chosen to remember is that I had 17 years with my father–that is more than most people ever get. For that, I am grateful. In losing my grandmother, right after I got married, I was broken inside. I missed her. I still do. But, I had my Nana 33 years. She saw me grow up. She saw me graduate college, and have my two children. In my grief, I chose to focus on what I had–rather than what I lost. These are the things you learn in your process. The thing about a process is the more you age, literally the more time you have invested, the easier becomes to focus. This isn’t meant to be callous or condescending, it’s meant to be a reminder there is more to this life than how you feel in a specific moment. There is more to your life than pain and suffering and loss. Gratitude is one of those things.
Gratitude forces you to take stock of what is around you, what your add to and what can be taken away. Gratitude is on the same continuum as joy! There must be a well within you which must be dug which sustains and empowers! This well is composed of the effects of situations you have been in or come out of. The things that almost killed you. The things that were sent to break or paralyze you. Those brick laid and thrown, allow space for you to assess what happens next. How to react, how to maintain sanity or composure. Joy and gratitude come from remembering this:
“This too shall pass.”
The ability to remember all life and it’s experiences are temporal, will remind you to be grateful. You will make it out. You will make it back, and you will have all you seek. And there will be joy unspeakable. From that spring well of joy, there will come gratitude to drawn from. To be filled by life’s rains, and ebb and flow–but never empty. Never ever empty.
[images from keylargoyoga.com, and getradiantlife.com]