Gratitude as Expansion

Gratitude and appreciation require only true sincerity and the willingness to keep an open mind. ~Alan Joel

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been working with the expansive energies of Jupiter since September that I’ve come to fully grasp this as Truth: When I move away from feelings of gratitude, I correspondingly move into a place of contraction, compression, and restriction.

When we are suffering for whatever reason, it can be so easy to forget that we are not the only ones suffering, or who have suffered, or who will ever suffer.  It’s very “me”-centric…and there is actually nothing at all wrong with this as long as we are mindful.

We forget, sometimes even whining quietly to ourselves or aloud to whomever will listen or will read our posts on social media about how we have it worse than anyone else, failing to remember that others have it just as bad as we do, in this moment or in others. 

We may have fallen into the habit of believing, “I’ll be grateful once I get what I want.” 

We are all living in human bodies in a three-dimensional world where there is sickness and fear and racism and misogyny and poverty and phobias and busyness and …overwhelm.  We are *all* living here, every single one of us.  No one is getting a free pass, no matter what it may look like from the outside.

Open hearts, gratitude, and a healthy Will (a.k.a. Sacred Flame Within) go hand-in-hand.  The more grateful we are—the more we choose to cultivate and live in this flow every single day—the more we are totally, completely present in this short, precious life, able to bring in more beauty and energy, both for ourselves and to share with others. I’ve come to believe that charging my Sacred Flame Within with gratitude every single day is absolutely imperative in order to cultivate or create what I want or need.

Gratitude is always, always, always a choice we can make.  We can choose to be open and grateful for all we have in each moment, including every lesson that comes our way, treating our lessons as gifts, or we can choose to be closed off, fearful, and angry about our experiences.  We can look for the joy in the lesson or choose to instead mire ourselves in the pain that living brings—without exception—to all.

And yes, horrible, terrible, distressful things happen, and continue to happen. They always have and I’m pretty sure—at least in this dimension—that they always will.  Our very human selves spend so much time ruminating on these painful things: everything we don’t like, everything that’s gone or might go wrong, all of our missed opportunities, our failures, those things we said or wish we had said, etc.

No matter how uncomfortable it first may be, when we approach our own humanity from a foundation of self-compassion and self-love, accepting both the sorrow and the sweetness, we arrive at a place of knowing just how blessed we are to even be alive, to be inhabiting these bodies in this time and place. Sometimes—oftentimes—this is exceptionally difficult to do but it is worth it.  When we choose to release our inflexible expectations, there is less cause for anger and despair, too.

When things feel particularly dreadful, I have been training myself to adopt what I am calling the “Cosmic View”.  This requires taking a step back and watching myself.  Will this matter in a year? In a month?  In a week?  In a day?  In an hour?  Sometimes it does and it will and there’s nothing wrong with that.

We live in interesting times, in an interesting dimension, in interesting packages.  We are both of the Earth and *not* of the Earth.  We are Sacred Paradox, made up of both physical bodies and spiritual starsuff, vessels between Earth and Sky.  Our roots go down into the Earth; our branches up into the Cosmos, the Above, the Void where all is possible and all potential rests.

It is necessary and good to revel in our human forms—our emotions, our physical sensations, our spiritual experiences, and all that goes along with it. It is also necessary to remember to step back into that Cosmic View from time to time. 

We can schedule ourselves to get all down and dirty with the painful, searing, dark feelings whenever we need to, giving ourselves an hour or a day or three days or even more.  We can ask Loved Ones to help us with this process,  to hold space for our very human selves to rage, cry, say horrible things, punch pillows, throw dirt, stomp around, etc.* 

We can do simple spells of release for our Sweet Selves, perhaps writing down all the things we hate or are struggling with, crying about, deeds we feel have been done against us, or the tragedy of the world.  We can rip these pieces of paper up into tiny shreds and toss them into the compost bin, or we can dig a hole in the Earth and release them there, or we can burn them and watch the flames transform the energies for us.

And then when it’s over—the catharsis finished—it’s over.  No turning back.  No going back. It’s time to again step into that Cosmic View, to dwell there, unflinchingly see the lesson that is being presented, and to receive it with grace and gratitude.  And in the end, the solution is to change our attitudes.  It’s the one thing we truly have control over.

I’m not a Doreen Virtue fan but I read something she said many years ago that really resonated and stuck with me.  Forgive my paraphrase, Dear Ones; she said something like: Being human is an advanced assignment.  And wow, it is ever.  This statement resonates with me deeply, helping to pull me out of the inevitable gloom I find myself in when the state of the world just makes me want to dig a pit, lay down in it, and quit everything.

Our lives, right now in this very moment, have been created by *all* of our experiences.  When we do our best to find the gift in every one of them, we find the gift in life itself. We can choose to be willingly expansive, glorious, sovereign, free, and experimental beings, learning whatever our lessons are. 

We can create simple exercises to bring us back into gratitude when we stray from it.  We can set a timer for ten minutes and write—without stopping—every single tiny thing we can think of to be grateful for:  running water, a fabulous espresso, a homemade meal, a welcome hug, the ability to read and write, a candle to burn, swift travel, puppies and kittens, good friends, healthy family, our sports team winning, a rainy day, the ocean, the stars, the mountains…  And we can wrap our Spirits in this beauty when we are feeling cold and lonely and sad for no exact reason we can put our finger on.

I’m inviting all of us right now—myself included—to seek out that gratitude that allows us to live in a place of expansion and Oneness, wholeness and gentleness.  A place that can’t exist simultaneously with contraction, judgment, or hatred. We *can* make this choice, Dear Ones.  Let’s start today.

With Love, Lady Jesamyn

*Important Note:  Not everyone is capable of holding this kind of space.  Please choose support systems for this work carefully.

Art:

1, 2, 4: Moi

3: With Gratitude to visaudio

About the Author

Transformational Priestess of the Luminous Void, I am the founding High Priestess and Lineage Holder of Sisterhood of the Moon (a matriarchal ritual community) and Sisterhood of the Tribal Priestesses (a consortium of teaching Priestesses), as well as Founder and Facilitator of Magick & Empowerment (a modern-day Mystery School). I am a particular and enthusiastic student of ritual magick, leadership, and communication; and my spiritual ministry is dedicated and devoted in service to empowering women and other people of integrity through truth-speaking, authenticity, and self-exploration. It’s my mission to bring joie de vivre, beauty, and mirth combined with serious study and foundational Witchy skills to all that I do. In my "free time" I enjoy sampling fancy cheeses and interesting libations, obsessing over professional sports, and admiring animals of all kinds, especially black cats. You can find me here: www.MagickandEmpowerment.com and here: www.SisterhoodoftheMoon.org. Thanks for reading!

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