Guilt vs. Gratitude



We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world. 
-Buddha

As 2012 comes to a close and I reflect back on the year, I'm noticing a residue of guilt. I'm struggling with the fact that 2012 was honestly a pretty bad year, globally; but for me, personally, it was a good one. How do I reconcile that?

Record-setting drought, fires out west, hurricane Sandy, the Sandy Hook shootings - to name a few of the major 2012 tragedies in the U.S. that have affected all of us in some way. In comparison to those directly affected, my life seems like a dream. I feel guilty about that. Not that I want something bad to happen to me, but sometimes my many blessings feel almost too good to be true.

How can we stop horrible things from happening? There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Whenever I read something about the world being worse than ever before, I remind myself that horrible things have been happening for thousands of years, and unfortunately they will continue to happen. But there is good in this world too. We have to remind ourselves of that every day, and find goodness in our own hearts, because from there it builds. I might have scoffed at that idea in my cynical youth, but as I get older and live more, I have gained an understanding of what this means. With our thoughts we can make the world.

We were on vacation in Hawaii on December 14, the day of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I had no words, only tears that day, and 7-year old wanted to know why I cried when I hugged her. The place where we stayed not only has the best beach, but the best Buddha. I was drawn to his feet that day, to calm my raw emotions. This peaceful place is pictured above.

Awareness. Appreciation. Never taking a single moment for granted, and recognizing that even on my very worst day I am truly blessed. Maybe it's these bad events that awaken a heightened sense of gratitude. So, goodbye guilt, hello gratitude - looking forward to ringing in 2013 with you. Namaste.

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