Thank you for reading my articles here. If any piece resonates with you, I encourage you to share your reactions, as they will likely resonate with other readers, too. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Much Love and Many Blessings, Alice
Friday, April 29, 2011
How often do we count our blessings?
A couple of days ago, I went to the annual luncheon of the Bill Wilson Center. It’s an organization in Santa Clara County that provides many forms of assistance to troubled youth, including but not limited to counseling and transitional housing. Among the speakers were the CEO and a board member who relayed convincingly the great productivity and efficiency with which the center is run.
What truly tugged at my heart strings – and I’m sure those of many others present – were the stories of the young people whose lives were changed because the center was there to help them. They rose above abuse, being passed around as unwanted burden in the foster care system, homelessness, substance abuse, teenage parenthood – in many cases, all of the above. As much as I truly respect and admire the work of the center – and I signed up to be a supporter – it’s really the strength of character on the part of the young people and their inner drive to turn their lives around that really touched me. After all, as they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to take a drink.Wanna talk about life being unfair? Who can argue that the kids served by a place like Bill Wilson Center deserve the first rights to complain? What did they ever do to deserve such hardship? They’re only kids. However, they choose not to dwell in victimhood, but instead do the hard work to turn their lives around. What a great reminder to us adults, who’re much better situated in our lives, to count our blessings.
This is not to say that our responsibilities and challenges aren’t real and, in some cases, potentially debilitating. Instead, it’s about remembering to count the blessings in our lives even when some parts may be falling short in some way. It isn’t wrong to want something better. After all, wanting fuels dreams. Dreams stretch us to grow and move us forward. The key is dreaming without taking for granted who we are and what we already have, being grateful for the here and now from which we create the future. It’s about shining the spotlight on what warrants our appreciation and gratitude, rather than constantly looking through microscopic lenses all that feeds our discontent.On Easter Sunday, my 8-year-old niece and 4-year-old nephew had a ball at my house. All it took was a pile of used printer paper and crayons. They drew on the back side of the paper, I made paper airplanes for them, and they even made skis out of the paper to “ski” on my hardwood floors (they have carpet at home, so can’t “ski”). They had a total blast! When did we lose our ability to absolutely love life without fancy toys?
The Bill Wilson Center youth and my niece and nephew are great reminders of choosing where to focus our attention and energy. We can choose to focus on the unfair hand we were dealt, and whine about not having the stuff we believe we must have in order to be happy. Alternatively, we can choose to follow our inner wisdom to do whatever it takes to better our lives, and have a grand time with whatever is available to us right here, right now. It’s all a matter of choice.I’m humbled by the Grace of these young teachers.