We all know people who seem perpetually dissatisfied with life. They're the ones who, when given a clean bill of health, are sure that the doctor is lying to them. When they come back from vacation, instead of talking about their adventures, they tell you that the flight was delayed, the food was bad, the accommodations dreadful. On a glorious, sunny day they inform you that it will rain tomorrow. Often they seem to take a kind of grim pleasure in the misfortune life has dealt them.
It's easy to be scornful of such people and wonder why they don't realize that if their lives are miserable it's because they they focus on misery. It's easy, but if we're honest we recognize that we make ourselves at least a little miserable when we focus with annoyance on how miserable they are, when we judge their approach to life.
If we are really honest we may admit that such people show up in our lives to the extent that we, too, are sometimes ungrateful for life's gifts.
I have much to be grateful for. I could give thanks all day long without repeating myself. But I don't always. Sometimes when life is a song I look for the flat notes, focusing on the invoice I can't find, the complicated order I need to fill. If I can't find a complaint about my business life I can always sink to the lower depths to find something: the mysterious pain which is surely life-threatening, the stain on the white pants which makes happiness impossible, the wedding for which I have absolutely nothing to wear--to create misery.
Sometimes we focus on what's negative for positive reasonsãbecause we need to identify problems in order to solve them. Often it's more helpful to acknowledge and experience misery than to resist and deny it (as in those who, regardless of their emotional state, say, "Just fine" when asked how they are).
These are constructive responses. What is less constructive is accentuating the negative. Just as focusing on notable failures tends to recreate them rather than breaking new ground in creating successes so the tendency to focus on the day-to-day annoyances and disappointments paints life in gray tones.
This kind of negative thinking may be so automatic that it goes unrecognized, especially since we live in a world which assumes the naturalness of negative thought and takes a dim view of those reckless Pollyanna types who go around bubbling with optimism and cheer. A good way to find out whether the habit of negativity darkens your days is to see how successful you've been in getting what you want.
Say that you want a new job. You've programmed crystals, you say daily affirmations, you frequently visualize the job exactly as you want it to be. It had better show up soon because despite your beautiful apartment, perfect health, and wonderful relationship, if you have to spend one more minute at your present job your entire life is going to be ruined.
In both a physical and psychic sense, this kind of focusing on what's missing constricts. Muscles tense and nerves twang when the hated job is remembered; the mind, in anticipating a ruined life, focuses on failure. When someone says that only one result will make them happy they close off all other avenues of possibility and deny themselves the comfort of the many blessings they already have.
When we don't acknowledge what we've received, what we've created, when we don't allow the joys of our lives into our conscious reality, we become like artists who keep on dipping their brushes into the gray paint, ignoring the rainbow colors on their palettes. Just as all those bright colors will dry up if not used, so our refusal to color our lives more brightly limits our ability to create radiance in our lives.
When we acknowledge what we've received we generate an energy of openness and receptivity. As farmers and gardeners fertilize soil in order that what they plant will grow, so our gratitude creates a richness in our lives, a fertile soil in which the request for new blessings can germinate and flower.
Developing such receptivity may take some practice. It helps to develop the habit of noticing when something good happens. Nothing is too small to notice. Maybe you got a bus which came promptly and wasn't crowded, or you had a good meal, or a pleasant evening with a friend. Be thankful, and you will soon discover that you have bigger things for which to be grateful. If you are a believer in any or all of the following: God, the Goddess, All That Is, or the Universe, thank them, either silently or aloud (being clear at the same time that you are also thanking yourself).
You can train yourself to notice the good things which happen by making a list of them. I recommend making this list on at least a weekly basis. Again, nothing is too insignificant to write down. Save your lists and read them over from time to time so that you can see how they have grown.
Think of your ability to be grateful as a muscle which needs to be stretched and exercised on a regular basis in order to become fit. At first the exercises I've suggested may seem tedious, and perhaps even a little painful, dominated by the ache of what you haven't received. Stay with it.
We can all learn that expanding our ability to be grateful expands our ability to receive until we are finally able to ask for the things we wish in the same spirit of confidence and thankfulness with which we acknowledge that which we have already received. As we continue to practice being grateful we begin to see that life itself is a gift.
Often when when we're not being grateful it's because we're focused on the past or the future. Carnelian is a good antidote. In Latin, its name means "of the flesh," and it helps to ground and focus us in the present moment.
Sometimes deservability is a factor in how much we will allow ourselves to be grateful for, and this in turn can be related to self-esteem. The ideal stone for this issue is citrine.
When we feel that life has been unfair to us it's difficult to experience our blessings. Sugilite is the ideal stone to help in releasing resentment.
Love is the greatest blessing, and rose quartz helps us to open our hearts to be more receptive to it.
Willow is the floral counterpart to sugilite, Dr. Bach's gift to all who suffer from resentment.
Larch is the flower for self-esteem.
Sometimes our lives are so cluttered with nonessentials that we don't even know what we have. Sagebrush (FES) helps to clear out the nonessentials.
Filaree (FES) performs the invaluable service of helping us to shift our attention from the annoying, petty details of life to larger issues.
We recently reprinted an article on the relationship between humans, elementals (nature spirits), and angels, by Iasos, the well-known New Age composer (http://rainbowcrystal.com/news/iasos.html) In writing about angels he explains that angels help us only if we ask to receive their assistance. He writes:
"As a matter of fact, from their (the angels') point of view, humans are not really not that good at receiving. Even the humans that consciously request and absorb these healing qualities from the angels, are really only letting in just a tiny fraction of the benefits they really could absorb. Like letting in a tiny brook, when you could really let in a Niagara Falls of 'manna from heaven'. So remember--the angels are always encouraging you: EXPAND how much you can receive and absorb beneficial radiations from us! Just know that they will always be there--eager and enthusiastic to give you as much as you can handle!"
He suggests the following exercise:
"Think of some divine quality that you really need or would like more of. Then silently in the depths of your Heart, request and invite the appropriate angels to administer this quality to you. You can even make your request more specific: Ask for a "heart-beam"--with one angel in front of you facing you, and another angel behind you, also facing you. Sense them create a pillar of Light connecting their Hearts, with this Light Beam passing directly through your Heart! Feel this for just a few moments. . . then you have a sense of the magical assistance that is always lovingly available to you--just a thought away."
You can use this exercise to ask the angels to amplify your ability to expand your ability to appreciate, to be more and more grateful.
November 1 marks the first anniversary of Beyond the Rainbow.
I'll never forget the trauma of initially uploading the site. A job which today would take us perhaps two hours took us two full days (and one full bottle of Rescue Remedy). I'm indescribably grateful that we learned how to do this procedure--and the many other housekeeping jobs necessary to maintain a tidy website.
Once the site was up we experienced the classic new Webmistress dread. We were there--along with millions of other sites. Would anyone ever find us? If they did would they care? Did we have anything special to offer?
We were very, very grateful when we received our first letter of appreciation, our first sale. We were thrilled when we began to get volumes of email, ecstatic when we were given our first award.
We've had many moments of discouragement (and sometimes more than moments). At such times we reminded ourselves that having a website requires patience, and--we added--faith.
We kept on learning. We added this newsletter. We redesigned pages, learned how to shrink graphics. We found ourselves corresponding with people from all over the world--Reiki people, Bach Flower practitioner, other holistic healers. We developed a sense of belonging.
We are grateful for all of that, and most grateful for you, the readers of this newsletter, many of whom are also our customers. We recognize that you have infinite choices of sites to visit, newsletters to subscribe to, and we deeply appreciate that we are one of your choices.
The best way in which we can express our gratitude is to promise that we will always do our best to provide you with
valuable information, the finest flower essences, essential oils, crystals and beautiful gifts. This is our birthday
promise to you.