New Year Resolutions: Demanding Or Filled With Gratitude?
Manifestation can be slippery business. Well, anything that has to do with directing your mind can be tricky! But trying to bring about a change in your life usually involves some kind of mental resolve or commitment. For example, how often have you resolved to let go of what’s not been working in your life? Embraced the idea that you can do things differently? That you can be better, happier, more successful?
And then … find yourself bypassing these resolves to favor the more recognizable, and often easier, outcome that you usually perceive as failure?
From the paradoxical perspective, failing to keep your resolve is actually due to a conditioned response that has placed one aspect of a polar pair as better or more desirable than its opposite.
For example, wealth as better than poverty, skinny definitely more desirable than fat, beautiful superior to ugly, young definitely more acceptable than old, toned highly preferable to flabby, dedicated more respectful than complacent, and of course, success is always more excellent than failure.
Yet, as a Marketplace Mystic, you are coming to know that both will meet you in your journey – again and again and again – so acceptance of this fact seems reasonable. But … your unconscious mind will fight you on this logic. It will not allow you to even come close to what it perceives as the awful and obvious outcome of accepting such a heinous notion: being poor, fat, ugly, old, flabby, complacent, and a failure!
I asked many of my students about their success in keeping resolutions, or in different words, manifesting their desires. Universally, those who experienced success identified gratitude as the key to this seeming achievement.
A long time student named Mary said:
“I don’t think of it as manifestation or keeping my resolutions. I think of it as asking the Universe (or whatever name you choose to use) for what I want and then forgetting about it. Then when it comes, I have nothing to feel but grateful. I was given what I asked for . . . When I look at how much I have, there is nothing I can feel but gratitude. If I look and see what I don’t have, I can get very demanding because I’m looking at what everyone else has that I don’t.”
There is a delicate balance between desiring something and expecting to receive it.
When this balance begins to falter, the struggle ensures between
being demanding vs. being grateful.
This inner tug-of-war erupts between demanding what you want, over and over, (due to a loss of faith that you will receive it), vs. thinking you should feel grateful for what you have and not worry about what you don’t have.
The presence of any ‘should’ – at any time – reveals that you’re not operating from a deep understanding. And when this happens, you’ll likely fall into a forced or contrived gratitude strained by doubt and fear that you won’t get what you want.
Expecting to receive what you desire doesn’t even enter the picture.
When you find yourself demanding, inquire:
Are you trying to fill up an emptiness? Are you feeling small? insecure? contracted? abandoned? trapped? victimized? Is the demand taking a very specific shape with very specific details that must be met? Is cynicism driving the demand? Have you lost your belief in the magic of the impossible becoming possible? Is there a sense of anxiety or desperation?
When you find yourself expressing gratitude, inquire:
Are you really feeling such a fullness that you are ready to overflow with the abundance of the universe? expanded? blessed? held? Are you actually feeling wonder that so much is actually being given specifically to you? Do you truly feel amazement? awe? insignificant yet totally taken care of? Is there a willingness to open up to the unknown and receive the fulfillment of your request in whatever way the Universe desires? Is there a sense of faith or trust?
How to Manage This Dilemma
To manage the dilemma, begin by remembering that to set up what you like against what you dislike is the true dis-ease of the mind. Paradox Management advises a deeper inquiry that uncovers the hidden harmony flowing between being demanding and being grateful.
To choose this strained gratitude over being demanding, means you may forget to ask for what you want and thus, to play out your role and purpose.
To choose being demanding over a forced graciousness, means you may forget that you are not alone in this journey but an integral part of the Whole held in the arms of the Mystery.
Take a breath, expand your sense of self to become as big as you can and hold the two seeming opposites as one organic, unified, whole.
Oneness on this plane always appears as the organic unity of what you had thought were two separate things in opposition.
The moment you can hold both extremes of your very human dilemma, your perception shifts. With this shift comes the re-emergence of true gratitude, awe, and a solid reaffirmation of your place in this Mystery, and a knowing that you will receive all that you need to continue your unfolding.
In the presence of ‘what is’ your life at any given moment, can you perceive this key to inner peace, resting there in the eyes of your own Marketplace Mystic? Can you discover how real gratitude feels different in your body from a forced graciousness? How demanding is so very different from expecting? I invite you to take some time and lovingly explore these fine distinctions for yourself. And may this new year shower you with many, many blessings in all shapes and sizes.