Where is Your Attention? Appreciation is a choice.

Dec 27, 2013

In the coming year, pay attention to the conversations going on around you.  In addition, pay attention to the conversations you are having with others. Are they driven by the thoughts and feelings that you want to characterize your life?  The things we give our attention to are critical in defining the substance and quality of our life.  They not only influence how we feel in any moment, but they also define the direction of our future. 

We are what we hate.  So be careful of what you hate; and be especially careful you don’t focus on what you hate or fear.  Watch the stories you tell about the events in your life. These stories influence your experience of life more than the events themselves.  Please don’t misunderstand what I am suggesting here; I am not suggesting we ignore the truth or avoid all the things we might find unpleasant.  On the contrary, we must embrace the truth and understand that it’s a critical building block to leading an extraordinary life.  Just be aware that when we become fixated on anger, an upset or other negative emotion attached to our perceptions, it’s a sure recipe for unhappiness.
So here is the challenge: “What we give our attention to will be what we create for ourselves.”  The conversations we have with ourselves and others will define the quality of our life and determine its direction.  We cannot sacrifice recognizing the truth in order to avoid things we might define as negative – this focus does not work.  What we can do is choose how we deal with our pursuit of the truth.  We can decide how we respond when we discover the truth, and we can pick the ways we will address what we find in order to move forward in our life.
There is, what we might call, an antidote for polluted thinking; a way in which we can address everything, including the good, the bad and the ugly.  There is a way that makes the truth a welcome friend, one who gently guides us to our dreams.  The secret is well known but quickly forgotten.  It is universally embraced as an important thing to do and an idea that very few will argue with, but seldom is practiced in our daily lives.  It’s the answer in front of our nose, one we fail to see in rush hour traffic.  You were taught this practice from the earliest age. Yet, you seldom saw it exemplified by your elders (unless you were fortunate.)  It is simple.  It is powerful.  It requires a bit of courage and a ton of commitment.
The answer is this:  APPRECIATION
Synonyms:  Gratefulness; Thankfulness; 
If there were one thing that I would have all of us do more of than ever before, it would be to LIVE in appreciation.  Living in appreciation is more than just being appreciative about the past on special occasions. 
This year I will help myself and others cultivate the ability to appreciate, to feel and express gratitude and to share this thankfulness with others.  I challenge all of us with this statement: “If we can bring heartfelt appreciation to every experience in our lives, the only description we could give to our life would be extraordinarily good.” 
The traditions of the holidays have had their influence on me.  As the year ends, I find myself reflecting on the last 12 months.   I have tears in my eyes on this early morning, and I am overwhelmed with appreciation.  Thank you everyone for the parts you have played in my life, you are all a blessing.