Seasons Change and So Have I

Fall is here, the colours are changing, and it's a reminder that our world is in constant flux and change. Just as this planet changes and evolves, so must we, as we journey through life. Each new path we take has obstacles and lessons to teach us. How we face these challenges, how we adapt and grow to meet the future, speaks to our character. How we treat others reflects what kind of heart we have, and should reflect how we, ourselves, wish to be treated. I found this quote recently, and it resonated with my current philosophies in life:
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
                                    --  Melody Beattie

I have recently had a number of conversations with friends who are experiencing tough times, depression, and tragedy. In the course of those conversations I have been asked, 'how do you stay so strong and positive after all the things you've been through?' and my only answer is, that I have learned. Those lessons have certainly not been easy ones, and at times have driven me to the edge. But I'm finally reaching a peaceful space in my heart.

There were times when anger and frustration were my daily meal. I've learned now that a meal of negativity will leave you starving, no matter how much you eat. There were times when sadness and despair was my pillow. I've learned that a pillow of tears will offer no rest. There were times when resentment so clouded my eyes that I couldn't see the sun, which left me feeling as though the world was dark. It has taken me most of my lifetime to finally learn the lessons; learn to let go, and to focus on the positive. The journey starts with a giant first step called 'gratitude'. And the second giant step is to not spend so much time looking in the rear view mirror, but rather to look in the direction you want to go, which is forward not backward.

We can't change the past. What's done is done. But we can change the future and how we go forth into it. We can make a choice to lighten our burdens by casting off the negative emotions like resentment, vindictiveness, anger, self pity, etc. so that we can take a step forward. Or we can choose to hang onto those negative emotions that weigh us down, and keep us stuck in one place, forever living the same hell over and over each day.

If we try something and fail, we can give in to self pity, and find fault and blame outside ourselves, or we can take the lesson that just because this thing failed doesn't mean all will fail. We can try anew, try something different, take a new direction. I see people who complain about things in their lives, but they refuse to make any changes. If you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same results. Sometimes it requires a leap of faith to make a right angle turn so you can go down a new path. But, as awful as those negative emotions are, if we have lived with them long enough they can almost start to feel comfortable like an old shoe. Casting that off to go down a path where the future is unknown and unpredictable can generate a fear that holds us prisoner. The dreams we harbour in the quiet recesses of our soul, will never materialize until we take that first tiny step to make it happen.

When I look back on past events and remember where my emotions were, there were times I couldn't imagine my life as it is now. I'm not wealthy, my life isn't perfect, and there are daily struggles of one kind or another. But there is gratitude. In the face of tragedies where some have lost loved ones, I have family, friends and a husband that love me. In the face of thousands of people fleeing their homes amid bombs, with no possesions aside from what's on their backs, I have a home that is warm and peaceful. To someone who sees life through the eyes of materialism my life might appear lacking. But I see abundance and so much to be grateful for. Isn't that what the Thanksgiving holiday is all about?


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