Tag Archives: abundance

Attitude of Gratitude

Life is good.

Even when times are bad, life is good.

In February, I started martial arts training with an old friend. Not having any prior skill, I was a bit taken aback that he’d want my help, but he asked me to bring my educational classroom management skills in and work to help him start growing his business.  My task is to manage the training floor, keeping things moving and assisting the higher level instructors who are doing the actual training. This program is closely related to traditional Shaolin Kung Fu, and as such it focuses equally on personal development of the mind and spirit in addition to the physical training. As such, I’ve learned to constantly work to improve my attitude, which is the essential element for success.

It’s no secret on this blog that for the past three years I have struggled with unemployment, and the subsequent underemployment that comes from maintaining several part-time jobs. One of those was my return to the elementary music classroom for a half-week schedule in August of 2013. Now, near the end of the second school year as such, I am faced with a new change.

I have been informed that I will be offered to return to full time status with this public school district. This is great news on the one hand because I will finally be able to return to the stability and certainty of full time work, with a modest salary that will enable me to pay my bills and maintain an average savings.

The workload will be a bit of a challenge. Instead of working in one school, I’ll have two. That’s double everything, students, coworkers, principals, etc. It will cut into my available time I have for doing other things such as all the percussion instruction and even the martial arts school. My private lesson schedule will have to be seriously altered. You get the picture.

So I should be elated, overjoyed, ecstatic, yeah yeah yeah. I’m not.

Instead, I’m quietly thankful that for the first time in a long time, I have the option to move back into that realm of certainty.

Quietly thankful, and reserved. I am still not convinced that this is what I want anymore. Certainty is one of the basic human needs, and I do not believe my need for it is as significant as it once was.

Hence the attitude of gratitude. I am thankful for everything I have. I do not want to give up things I love in order to do other things I love. I’m slowly realizing that even though working in a school is tiring, stressful, and at times infuriating, I am at a position where I can finally say that whichever way I go will be a win-win. Ever done one of those Ben Franklin-esque pro/con lists? I did, and because it exists, I am driven to be thankful.

So the goal in February was to become a full-time martial arts instructor. For all I know, that may still happen only at a different time. Maybe sooner. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? As for today, things look as if they’re starting to take a different direction. So despite the fog that remains in the distance, I am thankful that it’s no longer going in the same straight line.

Friends and family, I will inform you all once a definite outcome has occurred. Nothing is set in stone and this could just be the eye of a hurricane. If that turns out to be the case, I’m equipped to fly over the other side instead of through it.

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I’ve seen the plus-minus symbol dozens of times but I haven’t always thought of what it actually means in practical use.

Positive and negative. Up & down. Yin & Yang.

Last week my good friend Jeremy Roadruck, the Kung Fu Guy, talked with me about how the world works in the negative much of the time, and just how often we allow ourselves to function in the minus side of life. His philosophical perspective is different than mine to a degree, but quite similar in terms of practice.

Imagine two columns respectively labeled “plus” and “minus” with a list of words under each. The minus column contains the words FEAR, CONTROL and SCARCITY. When one perceives a scarcity such as in finances, resources or even security, a fear takes over and the protection instinct kicks in. The person works diligently to preserve what is already owned, or controlled. All you have to do is plug in the variables of each individual situation in order to see how the world becomes as screwed up as it often seems to be. The current President of the US and members of Congress depend on Americans living in this category. They fear us having independent thoughts so they work to control us by creating an actual scarcity. How else can you explain the economic situation experienced by so many today?

The positive side contains the words LOVE, FREEDOM and ABUNDANCE. Loving someone according to the prime definition of wanting them to achieve the best life experience they can have, or desiring the best situation for them leads to a freedom which produces an abundance of resources. Wealth comes from people working to help each other out. I liked Jeremy’s simple description we had over sushi: “I give the chef money, he gives me wonderful food and we both win.” Abundance results. Both parties win. Politicians hate this because it frees us from their control.

All too often we allow ourselves to withdraw into our shells, hoarding and protecting what’s ours for the preservation of ourselves and immediate family. Protecting what? Stuff that will burn. My job has provided a steady paycheck for a long time and I save what I don’t spend. But I haven’t given to charity or treated my family to anything nice in a while because I’ve perceived a scarcity. This is compounded by my looming unemployment. I must stop living in the minus column. I must love others, help them to live in freedom in whatever way I can and experience an abundance of something. This is what I think God meant when he said for us to help the poor, or to give our tithe. He wants us to live in abundance with freedom and to experience unconditional love. To do that we must give up the fear, control and thoughts of scarcity. To not is to let the enemy win.

Jeremy, if you read this, I don’t know where you learned this, but it’s simple and brilliant and is something worth passing along throughout generations. I sincerely hope this is an ancient parallel between the martial arts of the East and the teachings of the Messiah in whom I profess a belief. Thank you for sharing it with me, and I hope many others change their way of thinking because of this.

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