German Mystic Meister Eckhardt once said, “If the only prayer you make is ‘thank you’, that’s enough.” Today, my heart is filled with thanks… to you and to God.
Were you raised in a “cup half empty” or “cup half full” home? I was raised in a home where conversation was often negative. Therefore, as part of my spiritual growth over the years, I have worked hard at developing a faith based positive attitude. I have discovered that the best place to start is just being thankful for what we have. Thirty some years ago my husband, Bruce, and I studied a devotional book called “To See Differently”. The author, Susan Trout, was a student of Gerald Jampolsky, a physician who helped children dealing with cancer make a change in their attitudes towards their cancer. He taught the children that “love heals all things” and told them to “See only love!” What was most unusual, for me, anyway, was the understanding that the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. Thus, to see only love meant letting go of fear!
Jampolsky discovered that as they let go of their fears, the children with cancer often experienced miraculous things. So too, when Bruce and I began to “see differently” and become “love finders” rather than “fault finders” with each other (Trout) we also experienced amazing personal and relational transformations. After a year of following the path of “seeing only love” we renewed our wedding vows and have been experiencing marital bliss ever since! Yet, in a way similar to that of an always recovering addict, I still need to own and always manage my tendency towards negative, fear-based thinking. At a rational level, while I truly believe God provides what I/we need, deep in my bones, rooted in my family’s irrational fears and negative thinking, I still experience days when I struggle with maintaining a positive, faith based attitude of gratitude!
What do I do then? I revitalize my sense of connection with God. I pause and notice what I am feeling and thinking, and while contemplating all this, I engage in mindful breathing in and out. During this time of breath prayer I let my gentle inhalations be a relaxing and opening to the inflow of God’s/Christ’s love and life, and my exhalations be a letting go of my negative thoughts and fears. Along with this sort of pausing and noticing, and opening and yielding to God, I also write in my gratitude journal and I take care to express my thanks to others throughout the day.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you ever find yourself living by fear and not by love? Do you sometimes find it hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude? What sort of things do you do to let go of the negative and claim a positive approach to life and love? I would like to talk about this journey of gratitude during the upcoming Lenten season. Lent is often a somber season of penitence, but I think most of us “beat up on ourselves enough already!” Instead, I invite us to join in a season of renewal of our efforts “to see differently”. Can we let go of our fears and negative thinking and “see only love”? If we do, I expect us to experience new resurrection life in a dynamic way at Easter! My experience tells me that we will experience amazing healing and abundance all around us, born of the ever-bubbling well of Divine grace abundantly available to us through the Love of our Risen Savior! I am very grateful to be able to share with you both the joys and challenges of this time in the life of CUC and this beautiful and fragile slip of sand called Truro. Whatever else is going on in my life, I give thanks to God and pray for each and every one of you daily saying, “This is the day that God has made! Let us rejoice and give thanks in it!”
- Dr. Kate