Dear Why Team member,
I hope this message finds you well and encouraged. This week we consider the gifts we receive and how limitless their packaging.
My mother would often put loving effort in the wrapping of her gifts to her loved ones. The time invested was another way she conveyed her love - ribbons, bows and all sorts of additional decoration. And while most of us can appreciate the time invested in the wrapping of a gift, is it any wonder...
... that in our busy world today, that the gift bag with a little tissue on the top wouldn't become a huge hit?!
While many of us might save a nice gift bag to reuse in the future, it recently occurred to me that some of my greatest gifts have come in the most unattractive wrapping and packaging you can imagine. This, of course, I use as a metaphor to bring mindfulness to our individual power of choice. Why? Because life does give us gift upon gift, albeit often in unattractive, painful and difficult packaging. Yet beyond that particularly fancy gift bag, or special ribbon, most of us throw out the wrapping paper, focusing our attention rather on the gift enclosed.
Few people ask for character building experiences, but no matter the trial, challenge or difficulty, as long as we don't physically die, we have the opportunity to come out on the other side - better, stronger and more empowered to help ourselves and others. So did we not receive a gift? My own experience has had me at times to be grateful for the gift while at the same time angry at the wrapping paper. Well which is it? Am I grateful or angry? Most of life rarely comes about as we expect it.
Sports psychologist, author and speaker, Dr. Kevin Elko, often shares a powerful path to address this truth. He says, "Align your expectations with reality". What does this mean? I think it means that when reality presents itself, expect it! Change what you expected, prior to what actually came to pass, to be what actually came to pass. Remembering that our challenges often do come to pass, not to stay. And that we all have a choice; focus our time and attention on the difficult packaging, the unattractive wrapping paper, or on the ultimate gifts found within - the gifts of perseverance, faith, fortitude, insight, awareness and the like.
Know that no matter how unattractive the packaging, it is ultimately up to us to find the gift inside. The gifts we find are often what we need and in the conscious receiving of them, we can become even more of what others need. No doubt the journey to becoming more for ourselves and others is often very difficult, but know that it can be made all the more bearable when we mentally discard the wrapping paper and give gratitude for the gifts.
Make it a great week,
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