Love and Gratitude — A Letter From Penny

Love and Gratitude — A Letter From Penny

Hello dear Telos family!

I've been wanting to connect more personally and will challenging myself to do so quarterly. I hope you enjoy connecting, but of course just skim on by if not. Right now gratitude and love are on my mind. As a Christian the biblical scripture above holds a deep and meaningful place in my heart. But whether you are a Christian or not, we are indisputably one body energetically and holistically. Our attitude and actions affect others near and far. Rollin McCraty, Ph.D, the Director at the HeartMath Institute said, “we are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.” 

Therefore, we must try to remember that our actions and words can deeply affect others, especially those we love. In a time of great division within our country we must remember we are one, especially within our circle of family and friends. It matters not which side of the political or religious line we are on. What matters most is we are part of a clan or family brought together by God. For better or worse. We should love and be loved by those in our clan. We do not have to like a member of our clan at times, and we especially do not have to agree with them, but we can love them with respect and compassion. Even when they may not have earned it. (I’m not talking about anyone who has been abused or harmed or traumatized by someone.) We ourselves haven’t always earned love and respect from those in our family or community. We all fall short from time to time. Let’s make our lives an example for others to follow.

So, how do we let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, especially now? I admit right now at this time in America it is not a very peaceful place. I struggle with finding or having the peace of Christ ruling my heart. I am stressed by the uncertainty, instability, division, anger, resentment and deceit that permeates throughout our country. However, if I make an effort I do find peace. Even with all the difficulties in my life right now. It takes a lot of prayer and Bible reading for me to find it, and to keep it close to my heart, but I do find it. I also find it by being grateful. Gratitude has been proven scientifically and medically to be very healing and restorative. The word alone means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. It comes from the Latin word gratia. The meaning alone holds a lot of substance or thought. Grace is given, graciousness is a state of being, and gratefulness is a state of mind or heart. So if I practice gratefulness I must give grace to others— likable or not. I must be gracious in my actions and attitude with others. I must be grateful for my life and those in my life. It’s hard to be all of those all the time, but I have learned that if I seek to be grateful my world is more peaceful. I have more peace and joy in my heart. That leads me to being more benevolent to those in my family and community, especially those I find difficult at times. Or those I am polar opposite with politically, religiously or both. In our own world (family, friends, and co-workers) we find a smorgasbord of beliefs, personalities, quirks, irritations, political and religious differences, etc. We usually don’t have to look outside of our own world to experience difficulty in getting along with others. But I believe it can be done when we are intentional in our mindset and actions. When we lead with love.

Gratitude is strongly and consistently linked with greater happiness and health, according to positive psychology research and medical research. It is also associated with building stronger and better relationships and more productivity in life. Stepping away from gratefulness many times means we are stepping into something more negative and not as healthy or healing for us or for those around us. As medical and science research has proven anger, resentment, bitterness, and ungratefulness contributes to many health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, digestive disorders, and depression. To name a few.

For a happy and healthy you and a happy and healthy clan this season, let’s practice being more grateful.  Loving to ourselves and others, especially to those we feel are hard to love or get along with. Let’s open our hearts to differences, so our minds are open to learning more about the people we love or share our life with. You never know, you may discover that you have more in common with those you disagree with than you ever thought. More importantly you may open a door that was once closed for no good reason, other than petty differences that in the long run are not important at all. Besides, I believe most of us are going to find out in the end, that we were more wrong than we were right about our beliefs. When we respect others and love them for being different than us it broadens our world and helps us grow. Most importantly it keeps us all in a healthy loving, forgiving, benevolent state of being.

A challenge to myself and you this season— send your enemy (difficult family member or friend) a thank you card expressing all the things you love and/or admire about them before you all sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner, or whenever you may meet again. You never know what a little show of love can do for any relationship— difficult or strained. Love covers a multitude of sins, grievances, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. Let’s walk the high road this holy season for all of our sakes. The world needs a lot more love now.

Happy Thanksgiving and Blessings to All my Telos Family! I love and appreciate you so much! Thank you. 

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