I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged but I’ve recently been inspired by another blogger to post more regularly (http://food.rumtumtiggs.co.za/dinner-divas) so I will endeavour to post at least once a week from now on.
Our country has recently come through the “strike” season starting with the Public Servants’ strike, followed by various other industries striking including truckers and miners. This brought to mind the “sense of entitlement” which some of our citizens have, and others, like me a “sense of gratitude” for what we have – grateful that we at least have a job which enables us to put food on the table. As the strike season drew to a close some journalists and/or opposition political parties raised the fact that some public servants who are being/have been rewarded for mediocre performance. Labour courts are taking strain under huge case-loads – there are only 10 labour court judges dealing with up to 15,000 cases per year. 200,000 cases referred to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) every year. There are also a limited number of court rooms to hear these cases. Police officials are being shot on a daily basis.
There is a need for shared sacrifice – we need to be grateful for what we have right now. I know it’s not easy to be grateful for what you have when you are unemployed and don’t know where your next meal is going to come from and how you are going to be able to pay your rent at the end of the month.
So what is gratitude really?
Gratitude (simple abundance) unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. Gratitude is making the best of what we have right now (thanks to my friend Google for this definition).
Oprah encouraged us to start a Gratitude Journal. She encouraged us to go to our journal (and write) five minutes a day. By acknowledging what you are grateful for in your journal, you will become a deliberate attractor of positive thoughts, feelings and actions. Appreciation, gratitude and love make it very difficult to be negative about your life and circumstances. We should get into the habit of appreciating things (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/The-Power-of-Gratitude).
A Gratitude Journal is a place to stay focused on what really matters (family, friends, loved ones) and promotes positive thinking. Focus on gratitude and you can shift in your way of thinking to the positive. Obstacles can be seen as opportunities. Opportunities to build character or to reaffirm how much you really want XYZ (your dream job, your dream holiday etc).
For example: If you are currently unemployed, you now have the time to search for that perfect job. Looking for work can take up a lot of your time – time which you will not have while you are working. If you have not updated your CV for a while, you now have the time to do so. Maybe you need to update your skills by enrolling for a course at a college or technicon. Now is the time to do it.
Then again, you may be in the same position I am at the moment. I am employed but under-utilised and not appreciated. I also do not earn what I think I am worth, but I am grateful that I have a job. Grateful that I am able to receive a cheque at the end of the month which enables me to put food on the table and pay the rent. Yes, it may be possible to earn more somewhere else, where I am valued and appreciated for my skills and for what I can offer the workplace, but this is where I need to be right now. I may not know the reason why and may not understand why, but this is where I need to be right now. I have made peace with that fact and am content to work on improving my skills and qualifications in the meantime while on this journey to find my place in the world.
I am grateful for non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) like Rape Crisis, Saartjie Baartman etc who are doing their best to help the abused in spite of a lack of monetary resources.
I am grateful for my family and friends and the support structure I have and can call on when I need to.
Coming back to the Gratitude Journal – each day, write down five things you are grateful for that day. Write down what matters to YOU and what YOU are grateful for. There are only two rules:
1) Everything you write must be positive
2) You can only list something you are grateful for once – no repeating entries
By keeping a Gratitude Journal you begin to focus on what you have and not on what you don’t have.
Life is all about choices. The choices we make today, determine our future.
What will you write in your Gratitude Journal? What are you grateful for?