Following the Path Within II
“Living In Gratitude”
July 7, 2002-
A note to the reader:
“I am grateful for the “out of sight” assistance I receive each time that I write. As simply another human being struggling to stay on a spiritual path, I am in awe of the beyond-human insight I am given. Regardless of whom or what one attributes as Source, we are reminded that guidance is available to us from an unseen Source to help us navigate our world. It is this Guidance for which I am most indebted.”
Sue Kidd Shipe
Dear Friend/Friends of the Institute including:
Senator Robert C. Byrd and Staff
New York State Assembly
New York State Education Department
Lions Clubs International Foundation
Professors from several Universities
Web Site Visitors
Family and Friends
Each day brings a multitude of pleasantries if we only notice. From the sunrise of morning until the sunset of evening are contained a myriad of blessings, and also frustrations.
From the point of view of the glass half-empty, we are doomed to see only the ugliness of human behavior, our own inconveniences, the demands of others, our own inadequacies, our lack of beauty as defined by media and companies who desire to profit from low self-esteem, and others who would take advantage of us from every direction. Even a friend in need becomes a person wanting to use us, if we view life through a glass half-empty.
However, we can view life with a sense of wonder at the beauty and force of nature; with the joy of our inner child thrilling at the growth of a plant; and in awe of those with debilitating and terminal illnesses who manage to smile, laugh, and take comfort in our friendship. We can experience and appreciate the loyalties of our pets, and the attempts to please us by children. We can acknowledge the neighbor who looks out to prevent crime, the scholar and researcher who attempts to find cures for those illnesses that maim us, and the teachers and doctors and nurses who care, and try to improve our quality of life.
With the perspective of the glass half-full, we can see that there are business people who try to help us meet a need, and there are people who attempt to carve out a high standard of human service in spite of corporate policies that give advantage to the company. There are those who pick up our garbage, fix our homes, bury our dead, and help us find an item hiding on the grocery shelf. They need, and deserve, our gratitude. And all those, of every level of service, need our appreciation as fuel to energize them to be able to help the next person. Most jobs do not compensate for one’s positive attitude of service, pain of muscle fatigue, need for recognition, and fatigue of rejection. And each of us as a spiritual sojourner knows the pain of watching someone struggle while refusing help, of seeing a loved one make poor choices, and of attempting to live a life of peacefulness in an environment that is filled with increasing uncertainty, cynicism, and fear.
Our job is not easy. If we want to live on a spiritual path, our job will be more challenging than the life of one who only gets even with others. We will need first to change the way we look at each situation, and give it an honest and fair interpretation. For example, when someone strikes out at us verbally, or in action, we need to respond by stopping the hurtful action, but we may also look to the need of the one striking out and attempt to address those needs. Sometimes those needs are beyond us to attend, but we can be aware that the problem may be due to frustration, poor self esteem, or anger from other issues, and the frustration from other situations was taken out on us. This does not mean that we must accept the behavior. We must not! However, it does give us, again, an opportunity to live by our own personal behavior standards.
A friend told me the story of how a woman was rude when a man opened a door for her. He answered politely. When asked by another why, he responded that he was still a gentleman, regardless of the other’s behavior. This is a simple illustration we can keep with us daily as assaults from the frustrations of others are directed at us.
When we live with gratitude, with the glass half-full, we see, and feel, and act differently. We can note the brilliance of color on a summer day, the hazy gentle shades of gray and brown on a winter day, the crunch of fresh snow under our boots, and the crisp clear color of the night sky. We can feel a sense of wonder and awe at the birth of a baby as the continuation of family, the warmth of friends who care about us, and extra joy for the moments without pain. We can feel gratitude for the medications that help us even as we await news of medical cures. We can pray and work for a peaceful world for our children and grandchildren even as we deal with unruliness and disruption as it explodes throughout the world.
We can hope. We can care. We can smile and reach out to others in pain. We can advocate for others, we can volunteer, we can sit with a sick loved one, and we can help someone have a better day.
We can see the beautiful green of leaves, or we can be so engrossed with our own frustration and anger that the seasons go by unnoticed. We can be thankful for our time on the planet, or we can grumble that we never got enough. We can work to make life better for ourselves and others, or we can choose to numb out the pain or act out in anger years after the painful acts toward us are only a memory. Each is a choice. And it is a choice to live peacefully and in gratitude for, yet, another day of loving.
Please join us in Prayer/Meditation on Sunday, July 7, 2002 from any place and at any time. The International Peace Meditation has been celebrated on the first Sunday of every month since January 1995.
To learn more about the Institute,
please see: www.humanempowerment.org
Sue Kidd Shipe, President
International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
P. O. Box 3920
Albany, New York 12203 USA