When we practice appreciation, we automatically set our minds on an expedition for what is right – for the value in the experience. Appreciation is the starting point that makes it possible to miss those little things that really are a gift and that perhaps, we have taken for granted.
Appreciation in the Now
Currently, I live in a big home with my adult children and my grandson. This was a decision we made together after the birth of this beautiful little boy almost three years ago. Not only did it make sense financially, but it provided us with the opportunity to raise him in a communal family environment. With all of the added responsibilities this brings, it has been nothing short of an absolute blessing.
I work from home with a great deal of flexibility. I pretty much set my own schedule and can complete my work within a broader timeline. This comes with some challenges as far as resisting the urge to procrastinate and do other things instead, but it has been exactly the kind of work scenario I have needed. It has afforded me the opportunity to focus on my writing and program development while still earning an income doing work that I enjoy. Along with this comes a bit of instability with regard to what my work assignments will be from one quarter to the next.
The Aha Moment!
I realized the other day that this is exactly the kind of situation I wanted to create for myself. I have the ability to be close to my children and grandson. I can go to yoga class when I want to attend. I can run errands in the middle of the day if required. I can set my schedule as I want it for each week. I recognized the fact that we will likely not live in this communal situation forever. So, I had to ask myself, do I really want to miss these beautiful opportunities in front of me because I’m longing after some other experience or fretting about my future career or financial situation?
I pictured myself a few years down the road living in my own apartment and realized that would be the first time in my life that I would actually live completely on my own. That will feel very different and while I can appreciate the sense of solitude and privacy that I will likely experience, I have to also acknowledge how it might feel without all of the hustle and bustle that comes along with living in a full house – one that includes a toddler.
Express Your Appreciation
Say thank you! Appreciate the value of your current experience. Learn to count your blessings and focus on all that is right and good about your current situation.
If you’re anything like me, you might spend time always looking forward to the next situation, set of circumstances and experiences. I have come to realize that while daydreaming and visualizing can be a lot of fun – and inspirational even – it has the potential to take me right out of now – it can pull me away from all the good that is already present in my life. Don’t miss the boat!
Sometimes you have to Dig Deeper
So much of my identity has been wrapped up in my role as a mom and in my career accomplishments – often validated through my income. So, when I moved from my home community, relinquished my full time position at the college, and started focusing more on my writing and program development, I found myself in a bit of a void. Without the title and the paycheque, what value did all of this really have? Nobody knew what I was doing while I sat alone in my room spinning my ideas. These last few years have been quite a process for me. And I have had to learn to appreciate the value in it. It didn’t’ come naturally for me.
I asked for flexibility. I got that. I asked for the opportunity to create a work life that I loved 100% of the time. I am almost there. I asked for the ability to be close to my loved ones and be actively involved as a grandma. I have that. I asked for freedom. Check. I have asked to be guided to the people who can help me to launch my contribution in the world. They showed up.
So, now the choice is mine. What will I decide to focus on? Can I embrace and be joyous within all that this life has provided for me so far? Or will I continue to look at what seems to be missing at the expense of missing the gift? While this seems like an easy one, it actually requires a great deal of diligence and commitment of focus. We can do it!
As you appreciate – place value on – all that you are and have, you become more aware of the fact that everything is okay – or at least, you come to believe that it will be. This perspective and the energy it embodies is also very helpful to the people who cross our path.
Cultivating an attitude of appreciation will help you encourage this in others. As a helping professional, you will be able to see the strengths and capacity within others. You will become a messenger of hope. Your sights will be focused on what is right, what can be done, what is available. You will be the seer of abundance and all that is available. You will help others learn to appreciate their abilities, which makes it easier to access resources and strengthen capacity. This is where resilience is bred. This is where resistance is released.
Appreciation of what is and the value inherent in our current circumstances will eventually give way to full blown gratitude!
Let’s get started!
What can you appreciate about right now?