Sometimes emotions sneak up and take us over without our seeing them coming, especially emotions like fear and anger. Have you ever had your happiness hijacked and end up afraid or angry in a flash of time? Gratitude is one emotion that has the ability to lift us up, like air under our wings, and out of a current funk. Love and joy are what I call high frequency emotions. They are feel good emotions. Gratitude is a pry bar that creates movement from lower to higher frequency emotions. Even if I don’t feel it, I can “fake it til I make it” by using gratitude to move from sadness to gladness in pretty quick order.

Discovering gratitude requires a change of focus. Developing gratitude takes little more than choosing a different lens with which to view our circumstances, choosing a macro lens (close up) over a telephoto. In so doing we find that the most ordinary objects and situations can inspire joy and gratitude.

Slow Down

The miracle of gratitude takes little more than slowing down and noticing.  It’s hard to find the perfection and simplicity that inspires gratefulness when going 90 miles an hour. At that speed, life is a hectic blur. We are more running from life than to anything. Life becomes a bother. Miracles are found in the small things like the sparkle of dew on the grass, a sunset, a child’s laugh, a butterfly flitting by, a perfectly shaped snowflake landing on the car windshield at a stoplight. It is also found serendipitously when an old friend shows up unexpectedly but at just the right time, or finding that perfect book, getting the coveted parking space.

We will see the beautiful when we slow down, notice, and appreciate.  Slowing down is the key. A flower is but one miracle in a universe of miracles. Try looking in the face of a common dandelion for 15 minutes. Really look at it, touch it, commune with it. Notice its softness, symmetry, bright color, curly pistols and tooth-edged petals. (And it makes very cool umbrellas that fly off in the wind of their own accord when it’s time to cast seed.) The most common items have incredible beauty when we stop to look.

Love or Fear. Where do you life your life?

All of our emotions are rooted in either love or fear. Like opposite ends of a magnet, they are polarized emotions. They cannot occupy the same space at the same time any more than light and darkness can occupy the same space. When love shows up, fear dissipates, just as turning on a light switch in a dark room dissipates the darkness. When we choose gratitude, we choose love. When we choose love, the lowest frequency emotions of loneliness, emptiness and despair no longer have a home. Gratitude is on the Love side of the equation. When we choose gratitude we are choosing love.

We can change the course of our lives by focusing on gratitude. Joy will blossom, and love for ourselves, our fellow wo/man, and the world will then naturally emerge.  What might be possible for us individually and collectively if we chose love?