Gratitude is my Prayer
As we become more aware that Thanksgiving is around the corner we are reminded of gratitude. For some people being grateful comes easy and for others is more difficult. Life has a way to challenge us in different ways, and no one can escape it. Our human tendency is to stay focused on what is difficult versus on the gifts that come underneath our struggles and suffering.
Growing up in a very strong catholic country, prayer was very specific, and the nuns and priests did not promote deviating from what they taught. It never occurred to me that gratitude could be my prayer, until a few years ago as I worked to expand my understanding of God, spirituality, and prayer. When I learned that I could be grateful for what I wanted to experience in my life versus what I was truly experiencing at the time, it was liberating. I learned to say thank you for what I wanted to attract into my life before I had it, and that felt peaceful inside my heart. Now it has become a way of life for me, and I do it at least twice a day. Gratitude has become my daily prayer.
In Buddhism, we learn that our suffering comes from our attachments. We tend to be very attached to wanting things to go our way, and this creates tremendous discord in everyone’s heart. The older I get, the more I realize that learning to surrender to what is, it brings more peace to my heart. This does not mean I have to like it. For example, in the past, if someone treated me with rudeness and disrespect I would be very reactive. Nowadays, I accept that it happened, I recognize my emotions and reactions, I do not personalize it, and with a mindful and open heart, I decide what to do next. If you know me, you know I will address it. But today, it is done in a constructive way and once it is discussed, I make the choice to move forward with forgiveness and gratitude, so my heart can be clean and clear to experience the gift of life on this earth. Most of our learning and lessons in life come wrapped in some form of suffering. Learning to move through it is what allows us to keep the lesson and release the pain, inviting our spiritual growth to continue.
It seems that whenever I am expanding in my personal growth through my gratitude practice I am beginning to enjoy the benefits of it, I receive yet another lesson to overcome, and often, these lessons are filled with pain and hurt. I am learning to surrender to the experiences as they come with a grateful heart, so I can find the hidden gift in them. These painful experiences are often pushing me to continue to reinvent myself, once again.
For the past 20 years of my personal and professional life, I have done intensive work in developing my spirituality, and this hasn’t come without suffering. Sometimes finding gratitude in the midst of it, it is not easy, but I stay with it until it comes. As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to invite you to fill your heart with deep gratitude for all the experiences that life has given you and find the gift in the challenges. Don’t wait until the end of your journey on this earth to see it. Your heart will be more peaceful and happier, and you deserve that.
I wish you an AMAZING Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Veronica Correa, LCSW-C, is a licensed clinical social worker, certified hypnotherapist and life coach.
To learn more about her work visit: www.thepersonalwellnesscenter.com
or call 410-742-6016