“Appreciation is the aphrodisiac of spirituality” – so said Rev. Tom Wendt at church this morning (Unity Church of Crystal Lake – www.uccl.org ).
I loved that! I know on the spiritual paths I travel (Unity, 12-steps and Buddhism mostly) both gratitude and forgiveness get top billing . Kindness, compassion. All stars of the show. But appreciation, if mentioned at all, sounds like more of a minor character in this play. Except I think Tom’s right – it’s much more than that.
I loved his use of the term aphrodisiac in this context because it implies so much zest, passion, life, enthusiasm (which, of course means having a god within).
I found it more serendipity (getting a lot of that lately) as I have been noticing that I use the phrase “I appreciate you” quite consciously and a lot. I had a relationship last year whose demise has left me puzzled and hurt and feeling unseen. It got me to thinking how we all want to be seen, to be known (I wrote about this in my post “will you take me as I am”, by the way). And that got me to start paying more attention to the people around me and instead of just saying “thank you”, telling them “I appreciate you” and often elaborating a bit.
It’s interesting how people react. They are ‘taken aback’, almost always. Many become apologetic (“oh, it was nothing” or “it’s my job”). But all of them smile. Some blush. Some grin. I like to think it makes their day a bit brighter, but I KNOW it makes my day brighter. And I think helps balance out the karma scale – or I hope so as I do so many foolish, thoughtless things.
I’ve been doing gratitude lists for so long (since Oct 15, 1997 to be precise) that they are second nature for me now. I practice forgiveness but often find it daunting. Kindness and compassion – oh, I have such a long way to go on those noble paths. But appreciation? I think I could have the potential for being a world-class appreciator. That sounds like a spiritual discipline I can embrace with – well, appreciation! So thank you, Reverend Tom – I appreciate the way you make me think.
What’s your take, readers? Want to join me in seeing how many people, places & things we can appreciate each day? What or who are YOU appreciating today?