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Guilt & Gratitude

This is not your suffering; don’t add to the suffering of the world by suffering something that isn’t yours to suffer. ~ Byron Katie

One paradox of consciously living in the present moment is the awareness of all other beings. The poignancy of life is highlighted by the extremes of human experience both now and historically. It really is quite easy to be devastatingly grateful when you think of the scale of suffering on this planet.

The dark side of this compassion is guilt. People are shockingly riddled with guilt. We are taught to feel guilt for being born, guilt for all the ways we don’t measure up, guilt for the space we occupy and the resources we consume, guilt for dying and letting everyone down. Honestly, what is up with humanity and our indulgence with guilt?

I am blessed to have lived a life unburdened by guilt indoctrination. I credit both my family’s exodus from organized religion and our subsequent back to the land lifestyle for this freedom. I spent my childhood hauling water from a river, heating our cabin with only a wood stove and suffering an outhouse during Northern Prairie winters. I appreciate hot water, furnaces and flush toilets like a Greek supplicant at the Oracle of Delphi. There is no space for guilt in the intensity of my gratitude for these magical things.

One narrative I love to tell goes like this: we are part of two or three generations when the common folk are living the life our ancestors sacrificed for. We are the sweet spot between the industrial revolution and environmental destruction. We are the peak, the apex, the incarnation reaping the benefits of the efforts of so many for so long. We are truly living the dream.

It seems peevish to live it in guilt.

Gratitude? Yes. Guilt? No.


One place I get tangled up in is making money. Making money is a bottom line measure of responsible conduct in a capitalist society. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t make enough to “pay my share” and my partner has to ante up my portion. Fortunately, my partner knows that it takes more than money to create a joyful life. (You might need a puppy, for instance!)

During my hypnosis training, I took every opportunity to seek out spiritual council and ask for guidance on money issues.

The first time I asked, “what about money?”,  my Council responded: Money is not what you are about. Jeffrey will continue to prosper.  Good news!

The second time I was advised: Don’t worry about money.

The third time I was shown this snippet of a future life:

Movement. Peering through gauzy material at throngs of folks reaching towards me. I am carried in a rough made litter. I am a young woman, a princess. I feel resigned to my fate…someone has to do it. It is no great privilege to be a Queen in this world.

The wisdom? Duty is coming; enjoy your freedom.

The final time I asked about money in a session I was told: Stop asking about money.

Yup. Scolded. Admonished by my Spiritual Council.

So now I have the audacity to not worry about money. If you can’t trust your Spiritual Council, who can you trust?


Gratitude is a beginning place; a gateway to healing, trust, enough-ness.

Guilt locks the gates down tight; it is the choking smog of stress, self-loathing and incapacitation.

Gratitude is the first breath of release.

Inhale: open the gates. Exhale: release guilt.

Inhale: love. Exhale: peace.

 

 

 

 

11 thoughts on “Guilt & Gratitude”

  1. Beautiful and relevant as aways.

    Another quote:
    “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
    It seems to me, guilt requires comparison — I wonder if gratitude does too?

    Perhaps in gratitude we compare ourselves to our own experience: such as the internal, overwhelming bliss of a beautiful sunset, a full belly or soft blankets on a cold night.

    A great post to get me pondering as always.

    mary xox

    1. I believe gratitude (and guilt) can arise without comparison. I would say there are a multitude of wells from which they spring.

    1. A friend who is a channeler advised me to turn the blog into a book so it could happen! I am beginning to warm up to the idea! xxoo

      1. Sarah you were a gifted writer at age nine and now your writing is of course refined with life experience and wisdom so just go for it!! Write your book:)

  2. Beautiful and so true! My daily drive to work finds me listing all the things I am grateful for. It can be quite long, as I have 11 miles to drive.. 🙂 I often find an emotional lump in my throat as I continue my list. Guilt and Gratitude…such a great combination and so well stated! And I am glad you are my cousin and I get to read these! Hugs!

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