“The Niggles” series of blog posts is about ideas that prickle the psyche. It’s that nagging dry hangnail feeling that intuition puts in the way whenever I haven’t understood a message or if I haven’t given a message that needs to be heard by someone.
Today, the niggly thing is gratitude.
I think it is a misunderstanding, really. Or maybe it’s the toxic-positive version of gratitude. There is a sense in some parts spiritual social media that gratitude is a pathway to achieving something that you want.
“Being grateful for what you have” as a means to an end perverts gratitude. It turns being thankful into something artificial even if the end goal is something very good like happiness, a healthy romance, a feeling of abundance or what have you.
I worry that some things I’ve said or written about so-called soulmates may have been misunderstood. When I said that the best way to attract the love of your life is to be happy with your life as it is right now, I never meant that you have to be grateful for being alone.
But when I said be happy, I meant precisely that. I meant to deliberately find the good stuff in the present moment rather than go through life laser focused on something you don’t have. Think about it. Who would you rather have as your soulmate, a person wrapped in the joy of living, or a person wrapped in worry about the future?
There is a difference between a social convention and a genuine emotion. Yes, by all means, say thank you and be polite even if you don’t feel all that. appreciative. If you spontaneously, naturally, authentically feel that way, then by all means live that. BE grateful with gusto.
We are all connected. Emerson tells us that the greatest gift one can give is a portion of ourselves. With that piece of generosity, through the interconnectedness of everything, if we give that piece of ourselves we discover the Cosmos – and it is us.
Left: Nine of Wands. The feeling around this card is battle weary, battle hardened, keeping watch. Wands, as always, have to do with the inner realm, and the nine today has a feeling of baptism by fire. Fire, of course, is also appropriate for the suit of wands. We’ve survive so far, but there are battles to come. It is the darker side of keeping watch where where your own fatigue and pessimism is as much of an adversary as the threats you guard against. Rather than give up hope, use your experiences so far. You may be exhausted, but let that make you still, and listening. Settle into a still watching that lets your bones rest and your heart be still while you are cautiously prepared for what may come.
Center: Six of Pentacles. Coins once again bring us to the earth element and the physical realm. Energy has been dwelling with this, as it should. This is precisely where out attention should start. We have been called on to do practical things and this continues. There is a shift, a settling in. Now that we’ve had a couple of weeks of this, it is time to dig in for real, do what needs done for the long term, and that includes carving out spaces of generosity. It is time to see the new rhythms of supply and demand. Let go of what you don’t really need – it is ok to stop hoarding toilet paper and let the elderly in need have some. Act out of love and pragmatism in spite of the fear. There are real problems to deal with. Deal with them, yes, but do from a place of caring more than fear just as much as you can muster.
Right: Three of Wands. This is the lighter side of watching, the lighter side of being on guard. Keep an eye on the horizon. Conditions are right for a storm but one is not guaranteed. Watch, be on guard, but do so with confidence. You are battle hardened, just like the 9 of wands, but with greater resources. The danger here is overconfidence. Now is not a time for rose colored glasses any more than it is time for overly fearful ones. Temper your hard won preparedness with a tinge of caution and practicality. You are a hero…you can do this…but keep your wits about you and see reality as you do.
Generosity takes many forms. Generosity with the gifts that money can not buy is the most valuable and yet most underestimated form. “The civility that money will purchase is rarely extended to those who have none.” – Charles Dickens