Being Grateful

Frans StieneArticles, English Leave a Comment


Many of us try to cultivate gratitude in our lives, for everyday things and significant things. Often we are being grateful for the food we have or can buy, or we are being grateful for friendships, or for the love we might receive. Then there is the aspect of being grateful for an illness or for the not so “happy” elements in our life. Everything we have or that we experience offers a chance to be grateful.

But for me there is one very important element in which all the other grateful elements rest, one element we may not recognize or even think about. And this is being grateful for your own physicality.

Our physical being is the vehicle in which we rest all the other aspects of being grateful. It is, so to speak, the clay pot. But if a clay pot has cracks in it, or is not baked thoroughly enough, or is upside down, then all the water we pour into it will not hold. We could pour oceans of gratitude into this pot, but it all will pour out or trickle away, leaving an empty vessel.

It is the same with being grateful for food, friendships, love and illnesses, and this is why to be grateful for everything else in our lives we first have to be grateful “100%” for our own physical body.

We may find it hard to be grateful for our physical body, while finding it easy to be critical of it. We might not like certain parts or aspects, or we do not like the scar we have, or the way our limbs move, and on and on. But if we do not like or are not being grateful for our own physical being, than how can we be grateful for all the other aspects of our life? Just like the clay pot, those other aspects in our life will not hold, they will be unstable.

We see this often with illnesses. We keep calling ourselves a survivor of something instead of being grateful for the illness and its experiences, and moving on. I say this not to minimize or to take away from anyone’s experience or gratitude for surviving something very difficult. But if we do not move on, then we are constantly in survivor mode, which can be very trying. We are spending all our energy on surviving. Being grateful for the illness within our body, or the pain within our body, is therefore so important in healing ourselves, and moving on into being grateful for other aspects in our life.

Of course this is not always so easy to do and especially not in a society where we are fed to be, are ‘expected’ to be a certain way, to look a certain way. This is why to learn how to be really grateful for our own physicality, first we have to learn how to accept all our physicality: our physical quirkiness, our pains and discomforts, our illnesses, our body which inevitably grows older, you name it…

Thus being grateful and acceptance go hand in hand; in reality they can not be separated.

It is so important, if we want to start to heal ourselves, that we start to use our own physical body as the base for this healing to take place. True healing is wholeness, becoming whole. And the first step to this wholeness lies in accepting and being grateful for our physical being, whether it has “health” or has “illness”.

Or, to borrow from a traditional wedding vow, imagine pledging to your physical being “…in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…to accept and be grateful, in wholeness, until death do us part.”

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