The Art of Appreciation and Freedom


My front porch in Midtown, Sacramento

I’ve gotten a daily meditation email from Abraham-Hicks for many years now. While I appreciate that it’s not for everyone, their language beautifully weaves together teachings that I’ve practiced for years from various sources: A Course in Miracles, Conversations with God, anything by Caroline Myss, Emmet Fox, and Ernest Holmes. It’s a daily dose of all those voices rolled into one, and speaks truth to me.

This morning’s dosage was a perfect example: “Let your dominant intent be to feel good which means be playful, have fun, laugh often, look for reasons to appreciate and practice the art of appreciation. And as you practice it, the Universe, who has been watching you practice, will give you constant opportunities to express it. So that your life just gets better and better and better.”

This has been my practice and my experience for many years now. But it’s not really the whole story. I don’t care for most of the language that’s developed around “the law of attraction” because it often comes across as very superficial and easy to do: just be positive and your life will go well. But that’s actually not the case at all, depending on how you define “go well.”

Two of my favorite lessons from Caroline Myss explain it better than I could:

  1. The purpose of the spiritual path is not to stop the chaos in your life, but to stay centered in spite of it.
  2. Gratitude on a full stomach doesn’t count.

Control is an illusion. While I agree and have experienced that my attitude and approach to life in general can yield inexplicable positive results, there’s nothing I can do to stop “bad” things from happening. Jobs will be lost, relationships will end, deaths will happen. For me the question always is: Who do I want to be in response to this?

Spiritual muscles develop from discipline, and the discipline comes from managing my responses, not getting caught up in the drama, the negative, my tendency to wallow in “poor me” and interpret, initially, everything in front of me as negative. (Some of you may be surprised by that admission, but it’s true: if you don’t see me that way that’s only because of this said discipline I’m discussing!)

Every moment in life presents an opportunity for me to decide – and in fact create – who I am in response to it. That’s free will. That, in my opinion, is the true meaning behind “you create your own reality”, another phrase I generally don’t care for because it’s often used in trite and misleading ways. So in the face of various events, “good or bad”, I’ve learned that it’s best to come from a place of gratitude, from appreciation. Because I’m here to practice free will, and experience whatever I choose, and it’s the opportunity to choose that I appreciate.

What does any of this have to do with the 4th of July? Not a thing :). I’m just enjoying a deliciously unstructured day off that has already been highly productive. I’d been enjoying coffee on my upstairs front porch after coming home from the gym in amazing weather for July in Sacramento, and decided to do some work out here. I opened up my email and the above was in it and the mind started going.

What I will say is, as we celebrate a day that for many people represents freedom, practicing the art of appreciation – for everything, good and bad – diligently for almost 2 decades now has given me more freedom that I could ever imagine. It’s made me realize that I will experience life exactly how I decide to. There’s no greater freedom than that.

My front porch in Midtown, Sacramento
My front porch in Midtown, Sacramento

1 thought on “The Art of Appreciation and Freedom”

  1. Happy 4th my friend. I love this:
    Every moment in life presents an opportunity for me to decide – and in fact create – who I am in response to it. That’s free will. That, in my opinion, is the true meaning behind “you create your own reality”,
    This is a good way to start my Thursday morning. In addition I am so grateful to be living me.

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