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Welcome to the New Year!

As I was looking around the kitchen occupied by food embraced dishes and counter tops, it dawned on me. It is a brand-new year. A new opportunity to start over. A do-over. Or I might say, a do better and more. I don’t think I am alone in thinking this way. Each start of a new year many of us feel inspired to begin a new, improve upon, grow better, and so forth. This new start of the year is no different.

Maybe your aha moment was in the middle of your kitchen. It could have happened in a midst of a deep conversation about goals and aspirations, or a review of last year’s achievement or maybe a quiet sit down and reflecting on the time that has gone, the past that we no longer reclaim or realize the hopes, the desires, the higher expectations, or the unmet standards that we hoped that we could meet or even surpass. However, you arrived at your spark of inspiration, you are ignited with the motivation to go further, higher than you did last year. This start of a new year is your new opportunity to do what you wanted to and live the dreamed. For some, it’s time to get the kind of love that hoped to gain, whether it is in the present relationship or not you are determined to get the big love you deserve. For someone else it’s to make their bigger bucks. Equipped with the knowledge of what didn’t work and new money-making strategies in hand, there no stopping now. Maybe it is to buy that nicer house, move into a bigger home, become more loving family or unveil the fitter physique hiding beneath the one you wear right now. Whatever we are feeling inspired and motivated to realize this year, may I ask you this. What makes this year different from the last one? How do you know that this new opportunity will not also fall at the waste side? I ask because we too often miss the deeper aspirations underneath who we are and what we are and focus on what we appear to be in the world.

As I was looking around my little kitchen, which is shared by other family members, I looked around it many things in there that are useful that are helpful. These stationary tools help us to function daily. They help us fill our bellies with food, nurture us with new deep nutrition to help us to quench our thirst and even bring joy to us as we gather. Yet, looking around at the soul of these wonderful utensils and cooking equipment and looked at the state in which they have been left, I felt sadness rise in me. Followed a sense of frustration that intensified almost to the verge of anger. Then came the thought, an old parable or a biblical phrase that I've heard several times quoted and repeated in church settings. God will never give you more than what you can handle. What purpose does it serve me to think this? This is not an adversity for me to overcome. I used to think this was just true in terms of adversities but today I realized it so much more than a reference to face life challenges. It is an invitation to embrace what is in the present moment. When I looked around this little kitchen with all the useful intensives left in a state that no one could use, how could I be seen to handle more and better unless I put in the effort to show I am already capable of handling what I presently have. I started to ask, if it is emptied out did I refill it. If it is dirty, did I clean it. If it is useful, did I use it. Thoughts kept coming and building on.

God will never give me more than I can handle is not just relating to adversities. What more would I have wanted that I have not shown that I am ready to receive more. Maybe last year I worked hard and hoped and prayed for more money. And then I was given an opportunity in a form of new duties in a job I've been disgruntled about and felt dissatisfied with daily. what I really wanted. I had quickly forgotten that before I had it, I didn't have the job. I didn't have a regular source of income and I without thought I say no to the opportunity extended to me because saying yes will make it difficult to move on. I am planning on getting a better and high paying job soon. But how am I performing at this job? How am I maximizing any of the benefits or opportunities within this organization?

Take the desire for a nicer or bigger house with the newest appliances and expensive décor. It’s a rich looking space to live in to play into socializing compared to my small hovel. But how have I taken care of this little hovel and helped to maintain it’s once shiny surfaces and useful appliances. How much appreciate for the shelter I received under this old roof from hot days to cold wet nights? Have I show my gratitude for all I receive from it by how I treat it each day. The gratitude of housing me, keeping me safe from the bitterness of cold rainy days and the excessive heat, of being patient with me each time I drilled and nailed into its body to hang yet another picture frame or coat rack or shelf. All the things it allowed me to do to it so I turn this space into what I perceived as livable and more enjoyable for me. If I haven't taken care of my hovel with sincere appreciation, how am I proving that I am ready to then take care of a mansion or even a palace?

For several months and even years, I have hoped to find somebody who is caring and loving and attentive. Now, I have such a person in my life, I'm conflicted because he/she/ir doesn't earn that much or iss not as educated or he's not as tall or he's not as handsome. Am I taking care of this loving nurturing person so that I can develop deeper loving emotions and feelings to connect with him that we may even create more opportunities? Of wishing for more and falling into the trap of when I… I will be happier. Am I even seeing what is already existing? The strengths, the open doors that may lead to further opportunities, the love that may deepen into my fairytale romance, that home that give me joy and can be more with a little tender care, the family that can be satisfying with a little more of my intentional attention, the functioning body that could feel more comfortable if I showed it a little more genuine loving care, and a partner that could grow close if I say or express things in a more nurturing and caring way or maybe allow myself to be more vulnerable and open to possibly express my values, my core beliefs, my expectations about the future, my deeper desires so that they do get to understand what I'm experiencing? Have we prepared ourselves to receive more? Or will it be too much once we have received it, and make the most of it without feeling overwhelmed or overburdened? Have we prepared ourselves to gain what we truly want?

How you're thinking about these matters. Not just what you are thinking. Too often we put our attention towards what we don’t have may and stop you seeing and tending to what we already received that we wanted in the first place. Thinking and focusing your attention on what you don’t have is like keeping your hand on a hot stove. You create deeper pain and suffering for yourself. This is not the way you are designed to experience life daily. If you look a little bit deeper, there might not be anything for you to desire more of because what you have right now is enough and good enough. All you need is to show a little bit more appreciation to it and so that you can maximize the benefits out of this situation, out of this job, out of this relationship, out of this individual, out of this family home, and whatever else if it is not detrimental to your health, safety, and wellbeing.

How can you experience what you want in this present moment?

10-Day Gratitude Challenge: Embracing the Present Moment

Day 1: Reflect on Your Blessings
Begin your day by acknowledging three things, people, or experiences that you're grateful for. Reflect on how these blessings contribute positively to your life.

Day 2: Morning Gratitude Journal
Create a morning gratitude journal. Write down three things you are grateful for as soon as you wake up. Take a moment to appreciate the positive aspects of your life.

Day 3: Express Gratitude to Others
Choose three people in your life and express your gratitude to them. It could be a friend, family member, or colleague. Share with them how much you appreciate their presence in your life.

Day 4: Appreciate Your Surroundings
Take a few moments to appreciate your living space. Acknowledge the shelter, warmth, and comfort it provides. Consider how you can contribute to making your home even more enjoyable.

Day 5: Gratitude for Self-Care
Focus on self-care today. Acknowledge and appreciate your body and health. Take a moment to express gratitude for your functioning body and the opportunities it gives you.

Day 6: Recognize Opportunities in Challenges
When faced with challenges today, try to see the opportunities within them. Express gratitude for the lessons learned and the potential for growth.

Day 7: Gratitude for Relationships
Reflect on your relationships, especially the nurturing and loving ones. Express gratitude for the people who contribute positively to your life. Consider how you can deepen these connections.

Day 8: Gratitude for Work and Career
Acknowledge the opportunities and benefits your job provides. Express gratitude for the skills you've gained and the potential for growth. Consider how you can maximize your current job situation.

Day 9: Evening Reflection
End your day by reflecting on three positive experiences. Express gratitude for the small joys and positive moments that made your day better.

Day 10: Gratitude for the Present Moment
On the final day, focus on being present in the moment. Express gratitude for the here and now. Acknowledge that you have enough and that the present is an opportunity to make the most of what you have.

Throughout the challenge, aim to shift your focus from what you lack to what you already have. Embrace the present moment with gratitude, and you may find that it opens the door to more opportunities and fulfillment in your life.


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