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The Service of Gratitude

In my customer group this month we are talking about gratitude. We are using the oil of Spikenard in this process of exploring what it truly means to experience and feel deeply this emotion. It is one thing to say we should practice gratitude but what does that really mean? How do you do that? It is an interesting exercise where I’ve seen a lot of great ideas about it. Yet when we do those things what does it really feel like to experience gratitude? How do you describe it?

To prepare for this focus topic I did a lot of research about Spikenard. It is known as the Oil of Gratitude from an emotional benefit perspective. In my research I saw that it is known to help encourage a true appreciation for life. When we feel targeted or think all we have is bad luck, Spikenard is an oil to help us release those thoughts and replace them with positive ones. I have found it is relatively easy to see the darker side of things in most situations and I have always struggled with waiting for the other shoe to drop so I can say told you so.

I have to wonder if it was pure coincidence I created this topic and materials for that group because at the time I was really having a big pity party for myself. It was coming up on my 49th birthday and I was burned out from my career (still am) and felt like I hear a lot of people talk when it comes to their jobs sucking the life out of them. Too many of us have countdowns to our retirement! I was also feeling lonely. My friend circle has always been small but for some reason it felt pretty desolate these days. I was not feeling connected to much in life. It all felt blah and I was numb.

As I started studying for this gratitude topic though several things really brought tears to my eyes. I thought I had gratitude or at least enough of it for the things I had in life; a nice home, loving family, food on my table and the usual stuff but I was missing the boat. The boat being I wasn’t feeling it in my heart like I felt I should because of being burned out in life. I was numb from the stresses that had taken their toll on me from my career and left me not having any zest for anything else. I did not feel content in my life and sure was tired of seeing my challenges as anything but just my bad luck.

Gratitude though doesn’t mean things are perfect or even well behaved in our life. It doesn’t mean we settle into them with sour feelings that we don’t deserve better but it does mean we see those problems and challenges as blessings to better. When we can transcend our sorrow, pain, frustration, burn out, stress, hurt and more to be grateful for those circumstances we are practicing gratitude. I really struggle with that too. It is very difficult to understand how to be grateful for a job that has an abusive manager or corporate work that leaves me feeling drained every day. It seems impossible to have harmony many times when life is puking all over you.

The realist in me said this was baloney. Most likely the result of having my own rose colored glasses ripped off my face and smashed in front of me too many times. How in the world was I going to facilitate a group discussion on gratitude when I couldn’t even feel it like that? Maybe I better change topics I chided too. I didn’t though. Instead I bought a bottle of doTERRA Spikenard and started using it every day. I went through the exercises I was going to put this group through and tried to figure out if there was truth to it all. I worked to see if I could surrender and accept that problems in life were blessings to show gratitude for every day.

It took a while. I started to worry if I would have it figured out in time for this group work. In the process though I did accept that I could continue to learn and facilitate this group topic. I could share what I knew and didn’t know and be open to the vulnerability of not being perfect at something. It is indeed some work to release anger, f