In my favorite book, 14,000 Things To Be Happy About, Barbara Ann Kipfer clearly articulates the fact that we have thousands of things to be grateful for every day. In each of her listings, whether it is “the cold side of the pillow”, “dancing in the kitchen” or “the joke on a popsicle stick” I am reminded that there are hundreds of aspects of my Divine Wealth hidden throughout my life.
As I lay in bed last night, I became keenly aware of how lucky I was to live my life. I realized that I wasn’t focusing daily on the many wonderful and amazing things in my life. Instead, my focus was much more on all the things that I “stress” over. One of the best definitions I have read of “stress” is “the state where we feel our needs are not being met”.
I had become acutely aware of the polarity between”wanting” and “thanking”. If I was holding a thought of something that I “needed” or “wanted” then I couldn’t be holding a thought of something I was “thankful” for. Then, I thought, since I have had so many of my days filled with anxiety and desire, could I be grateful enough to have days where I live completely in gratitude?
I found that I had a hesitation to live in the world of the consistently grateful. I honestly questioned who would I become if I didn’t “want” anything? So much of my mind, my days and my identity are filled with my desires. I was fearful to begin to really look and live with the abundance of good that my life consists of. For some unknown reason, I noticed that I actually thought that if I paid attention to the good then it would start to disappear from my life, as if my focus would melt it away.
This, however, is completely counter to all spiritual law. Instead, we find through many teachings and our own experiences that what we focus on, the emotion that we consistently feel, is multiplied in our lives and in our future. By generating a radical attitude of gratitude you begin to live more fully. To do this, I had to face these fears, notice their ridiculous nature and above all accept my own position as part of the elite of the world.
The truth is, no matter where you stand financially, by simply being a resident of the United States, you are among the top 6 percent wealthiest of the world. Although I had heard this before, reading this last night struck me with the reality of this statement. Although you can drill down and notice differences between where I stand and others around me, in the greater picture, I am incredibly wealthy. I can assure you that you are too.
Can I accept this?
Can I live in the bliss of having a hot shower every day?
Can I notice every time I turn on the water, the miracle of the fact that it is clean, easy, and abundantly flowing?
Can I accept the fact that there has never been a day in my life that I haven’t had toothpaste?
Can I look at each bite of food not as a rush or a need, but as a true feast, one that I chose and can enjoy to my heart’s content?
Can I thank our roof for being sturdy and steady, blocking so many of the elements from us?
Can I look to the floor and be amazed at its wooden support and beautiful coloring, far from dirt or dust, yet refined and lovely?
Can I look at my computer and be amazed at its ability to process and connect me to so many people, to be a tool to help me help others and connect with them?
Can I notice that every day there is music in my life, lyrical gifts from others and Life, that help to immediately change my state for that moment and the moments to follow?
Can I appreciate the human touch that comes so freely through handshakes, hugs and even smiles that are given to me today?
Can I see that I have many options of how to express myself and the love I feel every day?
Can I see that 50 yards away from me is just one of many stores offering food, medicine, entertainment and more comforts than I can choose?
Can I accept that by the amount of books I have, I can consider the fact that I have a small library?
Can I feel grateful for my effortless ability to read, write, compute and communicate?
Can I see these things and so many more every day?
Can I live in this wealth and radical gratitude?
The smile is the physical manifestation of the fact that you are filled with assurance and the perspective that your Life is brilliant, unbelievably amazing and want for nothing. It is radical to be the smiling person at work. You are being radical if you smile at all, nevertheless, throughout the entire day. These are the radicals we need. The Happy Radicals, the Joyous Citizens, who despite their opinion or other pressures, always keep in the forefront of their mind the excitement, reality and love for such an amazing life.
It is time that we accept our privilege. Accept who you are and the life that you have been given. Accept that it is enough, filled exactly with the lessons and people you were meant to be with and learn from. Accept that it is one of the absolute best situations you could be in. Accept that by just noticing it, you are doing your Highest and Greatest Duty. Nothing more is required from you than a simple and genuine “thank you.”
Most “problems” will disappear of their own weight when we begin to turn our “wanting” into “thanking”. Attempt to be radical today. Smile through any pain. Notice the weave of your clothes, the heat in your building, the dozens of friends that are a phone call away, the knowledge at your fingertips right now.
This is an amazing Life. Today is filled with more wonders than we can count. Every time you find yourself wanting, think instead of 10 wonderful things, especially the small and the silly, that are part of your life. Say them out loud. Count them on your fingers. Write them out.
Accept your wealth – your true Divine Wealth that is not only measured in dollars.
This wealth is meant for you and you are meant to live in this radically grateful way.