The other day a friend began sharing about her anxiety for an upcoming trip. As with so many folks this time of year, she was traveling to spend the holiday with members of her family, some of whom she had experienced challenging dynamics with since childhood.
My friend has several medical degrees, practices meditation and Reiki healing, and has spent years working hard to forgive and heal the wounds of her past. Still, after all this time and effort, she found herself with a knot in her stomach and uttering those oh-so-familiar words: “I thought I was done with that already!”
Ah, yes. I imagine there are more than a few of us who would nod our heads in agreement with that plaintive cry. I certainly did. The particulars may vary, but who among us hasn’t at some point wondered, “How has this [person-situation-feeling] come up for me to face, yet again?” Aren’t we ever done? Apparently not yet.
So, what is a good devotee to do? The choice is ours. I know avoidance or complaining – both so tempting! — only prolongs the time when I’ll have to look squarely at what challenges me and deal with it. Or, as has been said many times by many wise ones, I can practice gratitude for whatever is my latest “growth opportunity.”
This Thanksgiving, I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude for all of it—the pleasant and the painful, the beautiful and the ugly, the calm and the turmoil. Our gurus and teachers have reminded us countless times that, behind all is the Giver, God, being played out in an infinite array of scenes for our education and entertainment. I still argue with God about His ways, but ultimately I trust that He knows exactly what I need at the time I need it. Thanks God!
Here is a passage from Whispers from Eternity, by Paramhansa Yogananda, that I found timely:
When the summer of good fortune warms my tree of life, it easily burgeons with fragrant blossoms of thankfulness. During winter months of misfortune, O Lord, may my denuded branches changelessly waft toward Thee a secret scent of gratitude.