Finding Gratitude

It is a normal part of the passing of the year to look forward to the coming year and what it will bring. That is probably best done, however, by building on the gratitude of what has come before. In looking back we need to realize that we are all gifted, all blessed. Though perhaps this past year helped you experience that our “blessings” are not always the good, easy, and pleasurable experiences. Of course, we all wish for as large a helping of those as we can get, but sometimes the most potent growth comes from wisdom born out of challenge. In the practice of medicine, that truth presents itself over and over again. In fact it is not an uncommon experience (when the moment is right and there is space for thoughtful sharing) that someone will express how he or she has come to a new place of being, a new place of insight, that was really only made possible through an illness, a loss, an unforeseen or unexpected change of events. Times of change are also potent periods of growth. This is more than a Polyanna-type way of looking for silver linings. It stands as a fundamental truth of existence as growing, loving human beings.

Rudolf Steiner, who helped found anthroposophic medicine (as well as Waldorf education and biodynamic agriculture) expressed this in a special way. As part of his own daily meditation he spoke a form of the Lord's prayer, standing, loud enough that someone in the next room could hear it. He had reformed it, and in place of “give us this day our daily bread” he spoke:
You give us
spiritual nourishment,
the bread of life,
in all the changing conditions
of our lives.
We hope that the “superabundance” of changes we have to meet does not overwhelm us. But the recognition that we have a role in these changes, and that we can gain something through them, is empowering. It helps when we can find the opportunities to look and see ourselves change, and appreciate that even who we are, can and does change.

So in looking back: let's try to bring to mind the gifts that come through unexpected experiences, and feel gratitude for them. In looking forward: seek to create and hold an openness for those changes that are to come, but which we do not yet know. And if we realize and remember that we are all doing this together, it makes it a little easier. Because we need each other to make these changes–both for support from the outside when we are the ones shifting, and also to lend reassurance and assistance when someone else needs it. We are all actually connected in that way. The end of 2013 marked a decade of anthroposophic practice for DCAT, and almost everyone who has ever come to the practice, comes through someone else–through a human connection. It's growth has only been accomplished by word of mouth, by someone speaking and sharing with someone else they know. So we are all, literally, connected in that way. Nurture and love your connections; appreciate and value them.
Happy New Year.

Dr. Blanning

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