"So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?" (55: Repeated Verse)
Nothing really out of the ordinary has happened... but over all, I've been feeling so blessed and content with life I just couldn't help recall some verses from the Quran that discuss recognizing blessings/favors.
“[...] and if you should count the blessings of God, you could not enumerate them,” (14:34).
There is something about attempting to count your blessings. It is true... it is absolutely impossible to count them all. Sure, we can be like "Thank God for my sight, my hearing, my ability to move, my ability to communicate....ect" but will we be able to list them all? I don't think so. I think about the incidents that may seem horrible on the spot, but turn out to be a huge blessing later on.
For example, one time my friends and I (yes, you know who you are) went on a road trip... we drove for about 30-45 minutes in the wrong direction... when we finally realized, we started heading the right direction and found a massive accident. One, that without a doubt, would have killed at least one of us (god forbid). But at the time, not of us were bothered by the delay, we kind of just laughed it off, like "silly girls," but it was a serious blessing, because it really protected us from a harm that we could not account for.
Now, I think about all those times where something didn't quite go the way that I wanted it to, could those have been blessings in disguise? Maybe, I don't know.
This post is not about religion or blessings in a scriptural sense, although I do cite some religious scripture. It is about contentment.
Contentment is not about being passive about what one has. Rather, it is recognizing what you have in life and making progress based on those things. Rather than desperately wanting something that you realistically cannot have (maybe at that moment in time), which allows resentment, discontent and anger to fester within you.
The thing about "counting your blessings" is that you are forced to have a paradigm shift, one that makes you think optimistically, positively, and realistically. You do not have to be blinded from reality to be happy or content with life. You just need to understand how "things work for you".
We all have things that please or displease us. Do we focus on the displeasure of life, constant fixation on the negative? I have witnessed so many people figuratively screw themselves over, when they stress on the negative. They set themselves up for failure, psyche themselves out, and create this cycle of discontent.
I have been told that I am annoying, bubbly, too optimistic, too perky, too happy, but honestly, I am not. I have challenges, difficulties, stresses and so forth, just like anyone else. However, I was taught by my father, as the saying go "honey catches more flies than vinegar". My dad used to always tell me, "You are, for the most part, what people perceive of you". He also used to tell me to "turn every challenge/difficulty into an advantage/opportunity" even when they are flaws in myself or character. For example, I have a sucky memory, REALLY BAD, but that forced me to look at that aspect of my life and become very organized in terms of time. I rarely am late anywhere or unprepared for work. That is because I forced myself to organize my schedule, my tasks, and my life in a way that forces me to confront my forgetfulness, not use it as a hinderance. I use stickies, reminders, to-do lists, I engage all of my senses in this process of remembrance. I even tell stories to myself, in order to remember facts and details.
So, if you think I'm too optimistic... then I'm sorry, I don't give a snap, crackle or pop. Not my problem, it is yours. You find a way to turn your pessimism into an opportunity. My emotional outlet is writing... poetry, blogs, short stories, and the like. Find yours. It may be, as one of my friends recently discovered, through the guitar and music.
One simple tactic that was recommended about a year or two ago was starting a gratitude journal. Every night, at the end of the day (and trust me, you won't be consistent every night... sometimes you'll just fall asleep for 2 weeks), write something you are grateful for. Sometimes, you'll be feeling the typical, "I love my friends and family," sometimes it'll be a particular incident, others you may appreciate something you discovered about yourself or someone close to you.
To finish, I'll end with something that I didn't expect... I woke up at 2am... and it took me a while to fall back asleep... then by the time I woke up again at 4am... I had a series of nightmares, one bleeding into the next. The details will not be provided, because in my religious tradition we are not supposed to divulge about our nightmares. So, basically, I woke up at 4am. I recited some supplications for the morning, I prayed a few cycles of prayer, I did tons of yoga stretches, and then I sat down to do some work...
Close to 2 hours later, I got all the work I needed to get done ---- Done. Now, I can start to tackle other items that were straggling along on my old to-do lists that I haven't had the opportunity to attack with fervor. It is only 5:45am, this is why reality is always better than dreams.
Drum roll…After three years, The Film is Done!
3 years ago