Radical Gratitude

Wild Horse

Image: Wild Horse by FireLizard5

Last week I met a guy called Will Pye. Sounds like the start to a limerick! But it’s true. One of the remarkable things about Will, is that when he was thirty years old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he received the information with complete serenity. He believed that this tumor was a gift.

Earlier in his life, he had realized that all the things that happened to him that might be seen to be ‘negative’ were actually life’s way of teaching him a really valuable lesson for his own personal growth. By the time he was diagnosed with the tumor, he was able to see it as the biggest opportunity for learning and growth he’d ever had!

I’ve been writing a list of things I’m grateful for each night for about three years now, and it’s made me a lot more appreciative what I have. But I’ve not been putting things in there that I’m not happy with or want to change. Until now.

What a radical way to approach life. Instead of cursing the things that go ‘wrong’ or aren’t happening for you, seeing them as your greatest teachers.

So you can see how this would work in your own life, I’m sharing with you Will’s Seven Steps to Heaven, which you can apply straight away. Note down your answers:

1. Select an issue, emotion or circumstance you feel stuck with and wish to explore
2. Accept that you do not know what it truly means or if it will prove ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
3. Ask, what is the opportunity here?
4. Ask, what gift is within the difficulty?
5. Ask, if I had somehow created this to evolve and grow greater capacities, what are they?
6. How does it feel to create gift, opportunity and growth, alchemizing sh!t to gold?
7. How is you life enhanced?

When we did the session, a Chinese folk story sprang to mind, which for me beautifully encapsulates the idea behind the second one:

Once upon a time, there was a man who had only two passions in life, his son and his beautiful horse. Then one day, the horse ran away.

The neighbours came to visit the man to commiserate: “Your only horse ran away. How terrible!”
“We’ll see.” Said the man.

The next day, the horse came back, followed by a wild horse. When the neighbours saw, they said, “Now you’ve two horses, that’s great!”
“We’ll see.” The old man replied.

The following day, the man’s son was riding the wild horse, fell off, and broke his leg.
“Your poor son!” Cried the neighbours. “ That’s bad luck!”
“We’ll see.” Said the man. (The neighbours may have started to find him a bit annoying at this point!)

A week later, an enemy invaded the country, and the army came to recruit soldiers to fight. Many of the villagers were recruited and killed, but the son was saved by his broken leg.

So before judging that a situation or outcome is bad, take a moment to remember you don’t know how it will turn out. And if you can use all such things as opportunities for learning and growth, what have you got to be afraid of?

Have a go at practicing radical gratitude and let me know how you get on!

You can read the fully story of Will’s recovery and attitude to radical gratitude in his book, Blessed With a Brain Tumor.

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