By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(December 8, 2013)
With Thanksgiving Day recently celebrated, I reflected on the subject of gratitude. My thoughts about it this year have taken a little different direction than in previous years.
I compared gratitude to the layers of a peach. The skin or outer surface can be likened to surface gratitude. It’s about thankfulness for nice things, the material possessions that we own. They make us feel good and they make life comfortable. We appreciate that large, flat-screen TV, the new car, or the new patio furniture. And we feel grateful for our jobs and our businesses that create incomes to fund these material possessions.
Another level of gratitude is like the flesh of that peach. It lies underneath the surface. Here we incorporate thanks for the juicy-ness beneath the outer layer of material possessions; for the sweetness of relationships, both family and friends. Here our hearts swell with gladness at the deliciousness of sunsets, butterflies and canyons. And here lies the satisfaction of emotional, psychological and spiritual growth.
There exists yet another level – a deeper one – called the pit. Pits are hard and rough-textured. They represent the grief, sadness and sometimes despair of hardship or loss.
Most of us don’t associate the pits with gratitude. On Thanksgiving Day, we generally ignore this level. Here it’s really challenging to say thank you.
It’s possible to cultivate a sense of thankfulness even for the pits. To have this depth of gratitude requires surrender to the realization that goodness permeates everything, even those situations that we want to label “bad” or “terrible” or “this-never-should-have-happened.”
A peach pit contains within it the potential for new life. When you plant it, a whole new peach tree emerges. At the center of the deep challenge represented by the pit resides a silent, deep space from which peace and gratitude take root. Herein lies the gift within pain and heartache.
You may have gone through a painful experience and noticed that something new grew out of it. Maybe you realized a new career, a sense of freedom, or a great relationship. Perhaps you gained an ability to help others or a new quality of character and strength.
To accept any of these gifts, you must be willing to surrender to the discomfort of loss or hardship. You make friends with it and know that, at the center of the pain, there exists a peace that doesn’t depend upon outer circumstances for its existence. Only then can you express thanksgiving for the full gamut of experiences that life contains.
May you know a new depth of peace and gratitude this holiday season!