by jloh

Clearing out some old files and I came across a folder containing some old articles I wrote and was published in magazines before. So I started reading them. And if I have to say so, I was impressed with my own writing. Flipped to the cover to check the year, and it was over a decade ago. I don’t even remember that girl – who I was, where I got the inspiration, and what I thought about what I wrote.

At 23, I was granted a 4-page center-spread in a high circulation magazine – writing about the atrocities of war as an impact on children. It was pretty good writing too, this piece skewed towards a more reporting kinda style.

The strangest thing was, I don’t remember writing it and reading it made me felt like it was the first time I read this. What was I thinking back then?

Money. I was thinking about making the couple of hundred bucks that article was gonna give me – to pay for bills, and to survive. If you’ve read my earlier blogs you would know a bit of my story – have been out in the world almost all on my own since 18. So I traded every legitimate, saleable skill I have, as morally as I can, to make that extra dough.

And in the process, I think I must have sold myself pretty short. I could have charged more, be more focused, bring it to a higher level – make a name for myself, as a writer, or performer, or speaker, or something. But because it was not hard for me to do quite a lot, it was hard for me to value what I have been blessed with.

Who else do you know that is like this? Talented in so many ways, with so many options to take so many roads – short of just giving it some true focus and honing a skill, but never really amounted to anything because of what I recognize now as a lack of gratitude.

No I’m not trying to be harsh. It’s true. Think about it. We have so much self-sabotage issues that we forget to be grateful for what we already have. In so many ways we are ungrateful for what we’ve been given. Here are some examples:

1. Body: If you smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs, don’t exercise, eat unhealthily, etc etc – it’s truly just external manifestations for a lack of gratitude for your body. (I’m not dissing you – I’m an ex-alcoholic & chain smoker, so I get the badge to say this.)

2. Talents: If you are shy or bashful in the expressing of your talents, and keep it to yourself because of a fear of being judged – that’s a manifestation of ingratitude to your Creator; because you were created magnificent and your responsibility is to give that to the world.

3. Relationships: if you remain in an abusive relationship or are abusing others verbally, emotionally, physically – that’s ingratitude for the life force within you and those you’re in relationship with.

I can go on, but I guess you get my point. For me before, it would be an ingratitude of my own worth – I never really stopped, appreciated & honed the skills I have been bestowed with. Because I was so busy trying to make a living. Now I know better but it did take many years. But I’m grateful for being here now. In this very moment, writing this very word.

So I take the time now to do a “Namaste” moment on myself everyday. Honoring the divine within me and everything I encounter. Taking myself and people seriously. Living life on purpose. Making clearer choices. Not just drifting along unconscious. Making “contribution” a standard for how successful my day was. Mastering myself in moments of emotional turmoil. Recognizing and giving thanks for the gifts I see in me and in others. Taking care of my body and the food I consume.

How do you practice gratitude? Do share your comments below, would love to hear your story too.