Receive with Gratitude

On my other blog I wrote about envy. The antidote of envy is gratitude.  If something is offered and I grudgingly take it, I do not feel it is the gift it is meant to be.  Seriously, without gratitude nothing feels like a gift.  With gratitude, every day feels like a gift.  With gratitude comes abundance.  I am not talking money value.  I am talking about that amazing feeling that I have enough.  When I feel I have enough, it reduces my fears and there is no room for envy because I am so grateful for what I have.

There were many dark years in my life where I did not feel I had enough or that I was enough.  I felt inadequate and empty.  I could not fill up the void of emptiness.  It felt so vast I called it the void, a place of darkness without hope or end.  Then I was introduced to a gratitude journal writing down things I am grateful for.  Also about the same time I was introduced to a warm fuzzy box, I actually put fur on mine.  Sidetrack Home Executive from Pig pen to paradise was supposed to teach me to clean my house, instead I learned life time lesson on gratitude and the impact it can have immediately. 

In my warm fuzzy box on a 3×5 cards I wrote down things that happened during the day that gave me that warm fuzzy feeling.  Then on the days I felt cold and prickly I could read the items in the warm fuzzy box and realize there is an end to darkness.  After the dawn there is hope for new beginnings.  Seems silly to some people that saying, “I am thankful for…..”  could change anything.  I experimented and found gratitude pushed back the darkness.

A few years later a group of women decided to write warm fuzzy journals.  One page per month to write one thing every day that they were grateful for.  Some people kept their books faithfully.  Sometimes the same blessing would show up on multiple days.  What I learned from this experience was not the quantity of blessings and gifts of the day I experienced but the constant flow of blessings that just kept on coming day after day.  Gratitude helped me to see that flow of blessings.

There was a time when I was in a state of utter despair, immersed in guilt over promises made on which I had not delivered. I went to my vocal coach, Fred Wilkerson, weeping copiously. He asked what was the matter. I responded, “I’m going crazy. I am almost at the brink of suicide.” He offered me a legal-size, lined yellow pad and a pen. He said, “Write down your blessings!” Furious that he didn’t understand my condition, I shouted, “Don’t talk nonsense, I’m telling you I am going crazy.” He said, “Write down that you could hear me say ‘write down’ and think of the millions who cannot hear the cries of their babies, or the sweet words of their beloveds, or the alarm that could help them seek safety. Write down that you can see this yellow pad and think of the millions on this planet who cannot see the smiles of their growing children or the delight in the faces of their beloveds, or the colors of the sunrise and the softness of the twilight. Write down that you know how to write. Write down that you know how to read.” Wilkie, as he was known, gave me that lesson in 1955. Fifty-five years later, I have written 31 books, essays, plays, and lyrics for songs — all on yellow pads. I remain in an attitude of gratitude.

— Maya Angelou,





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