As we move towards our annual gathering where we come together to give thanks for all the abundance and blessings we have in our lives, I wanted to share a perspective that can allow for the enrichment of gratitude all year long, not just on Thanksgiving Day.

We truly have so much to be grateful for!  An abundance of comfort, food, friendship, family and community.

We may find it easy to express thanks when everything is moving forward in our lives and we feel good, buoyed up from the winds of Destiny filling our sails.  With the wind at our back, we glide over the glass like water, feeling light, joyful and truly supported by Life. A feeling of bliss may wash over us and we reach out to clutch it tightly while sending a request to the Universe that we be allowed to hold on to that experience for eternity.

But as with all things that were never meant to be possessed, only experienced, the moment fades. And with it, our gratitude.

Soon enough we step into a life situation that brings challenge.  It could be anywhere on the spectrum from an annoyance that creates frustration to a circumstance that break’s us wide open with grief, fear, sadness or despair.  Do we take time to offer thanks for those experiences?  Probably not.

And yet, that is why we are here, to have a FULL human experience.  Part of that experience is challenge, growth, upheaval and change.

As tempting as it is to think that there are people ‘out there’ who have it easy, who never struggle, who have everything they want, that is simply not how life is set up.

At the beginning of our life, our Soul comes into this incarnation and merges with our human self. The human part of us being our brain, physical body, family lineage and DNA. You can think of our humanity and our divinity as close friends who have agreed to navigate the upcoming journey together.  Both contribute to an individual’s personality and both have an agenda for an individual’s life.

These two beautiful essences form the uniqueness that is YOU, never to be repeated or duplicated ever again.

Your human self loves predictability, safety, security, ease, comfort and support.

Your higher self (a.k.a Soul self) loves challenge, freedom, spontaneity and did I mention challenge?

If you were to take both aspects of you to the gym, your human self (gym – what gym!?) would spot the day spa and rush over to grab a delightful glass of fresh water with orange peels, smear a cucumber mint mask all over your face and allow your attractive masseuse to gently massage away all of your troubles. You’d feel refreshed and restored and you’d stop for a giant bowl of ice cream on the way home to your Castle.

Your higher self would understand the importance of strength training, weights and rep’s, cardio for a strong mind – body – spirit and would give you escalating challenges to get that holy temple of yours into pristine shape for the duration of your time here.

Our Soul seeks balance within the arc of our larger spiritual journey.  Each lifetime we have themes that color the experiences we encounter. We may be an individual who possesses a lot of strength and warrior energy and need to soften ourselves with increased compassion, sensitivity and emotionality.  Or we may fall on the other end of the spectrum and need to build our sense of self-worth, inner authority and ability to receive.

Regardless of the chosen curriculum, it isn’t going to feel like a cake walk.

And why would it? You’ve already experienced eternal bliss and manifesting thought into form with lightning speed. That’s not new! That’s been your reality for eons because you are one with all that is, the Divine, a presence with no beginning or end.

You came here for adventure…as life seeking to know itself experientially through the hours, days, weeks and years that make up your journey.

It is through this grand experiment that we get to experience ourselves in different roles wearing different costumes with a changing cast of characters so that we can know the true depths of who and what we are.

 “Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty.” – Glennon Doyle

It is within the challenges and moments of delight that we get to experience the full range of what it means to be human: being born, taking our first steps, tasting a warm chocolate chip cookie for the first time, breaking a bone, feeling shame, falling in love, having a child, graduating from college, losing a loved one, being promoted, being fired, traveling to a foreign land, taking our final breath and the zillion other moments we create during our precious time in this world.

We came to find the gift in it all, not just the moments we deem sweet covered with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

God only gives, never takes away. When you feel that something’s been taken from you, a beloved friend or pet, a job, or even if your house is blown away in a hurricane, it is actually a gift from God to propel you toward a much needed change that your soul has been craving, though your ego self might have no awareness of that need. The next step in your life, the thing that your soul not only desires but planned as its next step, could not happen unless the thing you lost was ‘taken from you.’ The truth is that God only gives. The illusion of having something taken away is nothing more than an opportunity to practice forgiveness and release and let your soul follow its growth course.– Terry Daniel “A Swan in Heaven”
                                                            
So let us come together this Thanksgiving honoring ALL that we have to be thankful for:  the sweet moments and the bitter ones alike. 

There truly is a Gift in Every Experience!

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