November has become the month of gratitude; we see Facebook status updates changing daily with posts on gratitude. But often, people only look at one type of event in their lives with gratitude – the events that they liked! When events in your life occur that you didn’t want, that you didn’t like, or that you believe shouldn’t have happened – it’s often hard to have gratitude for them. In some ways these events brought you pain, sorrow, unhappiness, anger, or hurt. Why should you be grateful for those events? Many would argue that not only should they not be grateful but they should be downright angry the events occurred. This is a victim mentality that comes from a space of fear and resentment. All events in your life are for you – yes, even the ones you didn’t like and didn’t want. And yes, even the ones that were painful. Even if you couldn’t see it when the event occurred, and even if you can’t see it now – chances are, the event offered you some sort of growth. That is a blessing. All events in life are a part of your journey; they helped shape you. How they shaped you is a result of what you believed about the event. When you look at all events in life from the standpoint that they are all blessings then you are shaped in a much different way than if you see yourself victimized by life. You are no victim. Life is always for you and playing the victim limits you and keeps you from expressing as the beautiful spirit that you are.
Instead of just expressing gratitude this month for the things in life that you like I challenge you to also find gratitude for the things in life you don’t like. A blessing altar will allow you to honor both the events that you wanted in your life – the events that you liked and have obvious gratitude for, but also the events that were perhaps painful and unwanted. Both offered you blessings. By having gratitude for all the events in your life you can truly live in peace and acceptance of any moment.
This is a picture of my blessing altar. Yours can look similar or completely different; that choice is yours. I will be adding my blessings to the branches on my altar (these additions will carry forward to my Yule tree) and will be journaling about the events and people in my life that were blessings. You may choose to also add to your altar, to journal, or to simply speak your blessing out loud. Whatever your process, a blessing altar can be a powerful way to shift into a space of forgiveness and acceptance that you can take forward into the reflective time of Yuletide and Solstice night.