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Daily gratitude is like taking your daily vitamins. When you forget to take your vitamins, you may not feel it immediately, but after awhile you may notice you are not feeling yourself. You then remember your commitment to take your daily vitamins because you want to feel good and be healthy. It’s the same thing with gratitude.

When you forget to be grateful or choose not to be grateful, you don’t feel good. Simple, but not always easy because we often focus on what’s missing in our lives and then feel depressed, self pity, sad and a sense of lack and scarcity invades our soul. Gratitude can totally turn around moments of fear or distress by allowing us to shift our attention from what isn’t working to what is.

When you are grateful and accept everything that is happening in your life, you will experience inner peace and freedom. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is essential for anyone on the spiritual path. The spiritual practice of gratitude has been called a state of mind and a way of life. In every situation, try to find something to be grateful for, and when you find it, your gaze shifts and you are lifted up. Looking for the good allows you to see and appreciate the gifts tucked away in the challenges you face in life school.

I consider myself to be positive and a grateful person. I can usually find the good in what’s happening around me. Maybe not at the moment, but after some reflection and prayer, I am able to accept “what is.” I may not like it, but I accept and trust that it is for my good and part of the bigger plan for my life. I take responsibility for myself and free myself from the self-imposed prison I put myself in by focusing on what’s missing and what I perceive as not good in my life.

But every once in awhile, I relapse, forget what I know to be true and allow the circumstances of my life to get me off track. I feel lost, overwhelmed and confused. It is precisely at these times that I need to put on the armor of gratitude to change the energy around and within me. It is the one tool that guarantees my freedom and peace. I literally force myself to be grateful, especially when that’s the last thing I want to do. I just may want to wallow in my self pity a little longer, but I know that doesn’t work. So, I write in my journal everything I’m grateful for until I cannot think of another thing to write down. It is amazing how the energy shifts. I keep repeating it until I feel the gratitude in my heart return.

If you are really struggling with something in your life and find it hard to be grateful, it’s time to trust. Gratitude and trust go hand and hand. What does it mean to trust? For me, it means trusting that regardless of how things may look like on the outside, that I am safe and in God’s care. It means trusting in a power greater than myself and believing that there is higher plan for my life which is good. I may not know what’s ahead, and that can make it difficult to let go and surrender control of how I think my life should look.

Are you doing the best you can? Are you showing up for life ready to share your gifts and talents? Maybe things are still not going the way you want them to go. It may be a marriage that isn’t working, lack of finances, a job that you hate, grieving the loss of a loved one or being unemployed. It is only in these difficult times of darkness and not knowing what’s going on that we learn to trust and our faith muscles grow stronger. We do not grow on the mountaintop. Mountain top experiences come from being in the darkness and not giving up.

We often give up right before the miracle because of fear. We say we trust but when the s…. hits the fan we often go into fear mode, and it can happen almost automatically without consciously realizing it. Fear can cripple you and make you want to give up and run away. It is in precisely these times that you are given the opportunity to trust in a loving God for your strength and sustenance. You learn that God is all there is and God can be trusted.

Gratitude is a gift you give yourself and it’s free for the taking. Take a daily dose of gratitude, trust in a Power greater than yourself and your life will change.

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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