The Gratitude Paradigm

“Some people grumble that the roses have thorns, I am grateful that the thorns have roses”

Alphonse Karr

The Gratitude Paradigm….Shifting How We Experience Gratitude

Gratitude is an emotion.  Like all emotions, gratitude has layers.  When we talk and listen to others speak about gratitude, we say and hear things such as “attitude of gratitude,” keeping a gratitude list or journal, “remembering what I am grateful for.”

On the surface, we are “thank” people daily–we thank  those who do something for us during the day…”thank you for holding the door for me.”

When we go a little deeper, we remember and acknowledge acts of kindness, and the folks behind them.  For example, on days when we feel like life has thrown us a curve ball, it is grounding and calming to make a gratitdue list and remember the people in our lives who bring us joy.

Recently, I became aware of an even deeper sense of gratitude…gratitude for the thorns.   Vulnerability researcher, Brene Brown ( Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection)  talks about the “gratitude paradigm.”  This is a shift in how we think about and experience gratitude, how we bring gratitude into our minds and our lives. As with most new concepts, I learn through experience.  As I was reading about and having conversations about this shift in gratitude, a friend shared a story that  pulled it all together!

During a meditation class, the garbage men came by in their big loud truck to collect the trash.  The truck engine roared and revved, the trash cans banged against the truck and slammed back down to the ground.

After the class, a member was visibly irritated and angry that the garbage truck had interrupted her meditation (she was talking about complaining to the building’s management company}.

She noticed that the woman meditating next to her was calm, peaceful and joyful. She inquired as to how this woman was able to meditate with all the noise.

The joyful meditator responded, “When I hear the gargabge trucks outside, I am grateful for them for picking up the trash so that I do not have to deal with it.  I say a thankful intention (quietly, in my mind), put the noise aside and return to meditating.”

Ah!  It is about creating a space to hold the negative and the positive, acknowledging the negative  (instead of being stuck in the struggle to resist it) which, in turns, allows the positive to become clear…. noticing the thorns and looking beyond them at the beautiful rose.

Finding Your Balance:  The gratitude shift is not about being a “pollyanna”–always seeing the positive and ignoring the negatives.  It is about holding the irritation with the joy, and Finding the Balance.

Posted: Monday, September 17th, 2012 @ 12:56 pm
Categories: Balance, Change.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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One Response to “The Gratitude Paradigm”

  1. jennifer wurth Says:

    Words to live by!! Your blogs are always helpful and relevant! xoxojenny

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