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The Art of Appreciation

August 21, 2011

The Art of Appreciation

“Love is the way I walk in gratitude.” ~ A Course in Miracles

Appreciating all that we have in our life produces harmonious relationships, creative and meaningful work, physical wellness, and genuine, long lasting prosperity. Appreciation validates our worth while affirming we are deserving of having everything our heart desires. And as we relish all the wonderful aspects of our life, more abundance is allowed to pour forth, creating a consistent wellspring of balance, joy and peace.

While teaching, I regularly pose the question, “How abundant do you feel in your life’s work? How many of you are allowing your creativity to be your livelihood?” People will often wrinkle their noses for very few feel they are doing what they love to do. Yet, whenever we perceive we’re not receiving something it’s usually because we’re failing to appreciate what we already have and blocking the natural flow of abundance. Thus, the most common way to keep a trickle from being a torrent, is to not appreciate what we currently have. For example, a common theme I hear from people who are not experiencing creative, rewarding work is, “I’ll be much happier when I’m doing what I love to do,” or, “I’ll be all set when I get a real career,” not realizing their encounters and the quality they put forth in those encounters is their “real” career.

Negating our self, our relationships, or our work, does not bring forth abundance. Focusing on what we already have, that which is good in our life creates abundance. I once read an article on prayer where a Unity minister stated, “Most people pray for what they don’t want, not what they want.” This observation is indicative of the tremendous resistance we have to staying in the moment and to affirming the beauty presently in our life.

Everything is pure energy. As powerful transmitters, we are constantly broadcasting our beliefs into the universe. Like magnets, our thoughts create a dynamic force field, attracting people, resources and events into our life. Therefore, if we slam our work, we are by definition, slamming our own ability to create. It’s never the situation, which needs correcting but our thoughts about the situation that need healing. And since each circumstance reflects our self-perception, our lives are enhanced by focusing not on our perceived darkness, but on our inherent light.

People sometimes ask, “Am I supposed to stay in an environment where I’m not treated as an equal or with respect?” “Should I stay employed where my work isn’t appreciated?” We all need respect and appreciation in order to feel good about ourselves. It’s not emotionally, physically, intellectually or spiritually healthy for anyone to stay in a position where appreciation is lacking (this pertains to relationships as well). Yet, we must ask, “Are we appreciating ourselves?” Truly, if we discount our work situation, we must feel discounting of ourselves. Further, “What thoughts do I hold about myself that are attracting this circumstance?” And finally, “Am I really giving everything I have to the situation to make it meaningful for myself and others?” At one point in my own life, while transitioning from the world of corporate business to spiritual writing and teaching, I performed some temporary work for a consulting firm. During that time, I concentrated on what A Course in Miracles calls a holy encounter which teaches, “When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.” I became clear that my purpose for being at work was not merely for making money, but for connecting with others on a meaningful level.

Through daily spiritual practice, maintaining this awareness brought me joy. My encounters were peaceful and I felt my skills and talents were truly being employed by God. Each day, I expressed appreciation for the work before me and I had faith it was a stepping stone to something even greater.

During this period, I did much inner reflecting and it dawned on me that my former attraction to business was because of the safe, sterile haven it provided, a place where people often kept each other at arm’s length. Yet at this passage in my development, I was prepared to bond more deeply. I began exposing myself in greater depth than ever before and shortly thereafter, the consulting work concluded. I then started exerting energy toward writing and healing on a full-time basis, and within one year, I was reaching out to, meeting, and assisting others in ways I had only dreamed of.

This example illustrates that my clarity of my strengths and talents, in and of itself, was not enough. The driving force behind my changes was the appreciation for what was in front of me. Through my willingness to express the highest quality effort into every task, I outgrew the form of the job and was graciously supplied with even more gratifying work.

Serving from your deepest truth while appreciating all that you have builds integrity and is the key to fulfilling your life’s work. In The Gift of Love, Joel Goldsmith eloquently reminds us,

“Let us do each day the task that is given us to do now, regardless of how mundane it may appear to be; and if we fulfill that which is given us to do now, we shall find that more important things, and eventually what appear to be more spiritual things, will be given us to do–but not until we have done that which has already been given us to do.”

Honor whatever work has been given to you. Know it is in your life for a very important reason and appreciate all of the lessons it is providing you with. As you recognize it as a stepping stone toward higher ground, you will begin to leap forward in your next adventure!

Thanks!
-SRINIVASAN VANAMALI

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