No one will argue the benefits of practicing gratitude. Count your blessings, look on the bright side of life, be thankful for what you have, the wise advise. Sure, it’s good for us, and enjoyable too, to acknowledge our wins — an achievement, acquisition, validation, improvement. But what about gratitude when things don’t go our way at all — during loss, failure, uncertainty, rejection?
Lately, I am practicing my gratitude on this deeper level. Advanced gratitude. Gratitude 2.0, I’ll call it. The foundational pre-requisite for this course is humility, the acceptance that perhaps I don’t know what is the best way things should go. Perhaps there is a purpose to the unfolding of events, greater than what my limited self has in mind. Gratitude 2.0 requires acceptance that though I may offer my best intentions and efforts, I cannot control how things will evolve, and I need to make peace with that.
BLUE SKIES AHEAD
Here I share with you Ribbons over Marr, the latest painting in the series “Be Here, Now”. One dreary, bleak winter’s day, while driving down my town’s Marr Road, the future did not look bright at all, at least according to my egotistical self-willed and self-righteous plans for how the universe should unfold. Yet, when I rose my gaze to the wonder of these ribbons of gorgeous colour overhead, I found gratitude simply for the sequence of events that led me to be right there, at that time, and to be aware of the (seemingly ordinary, but spectacular) beauty of my surroundings…to Be Here, Now.
DOING THE WORK, NOT KNOWING WHAT WILL HAPPEN
I did my best to capture how the light lifted my spirits in that moment, but I’m afraid the painting still makes me feel… sad. However, I am learning more and more as I study other artists that we are not in charge of what comes to life at the means of our artistic tools. That is up to something greater than the small self. Artists are merely channels, delivery systems. In this spirit, I share this work in the hope that it speaks to someone out there.
May blue skies be ahead for you, my friends.
You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.
— Pema Chödrön