gratitude is good, appreciation is gooder

ah, man, thanksgiving. i like it. i do. i like having both mashed potatoes and stuffing on my plate. i like the gravy, i like the rolls. and it’s nice to see family members, i guess.
the little cup of corn
my mother  has a tradition: next to our plates, she’d set a little paper cup (you might have these cups in your bathroom by your toothpaste) and in those little paper cups were 5 kernels of corn. and after we’d stuff our faces, she’d tell the story about how 5 kernels of corn fed an entire village for an entire winter, or something like that.
and after telling the story, we’d go around the table and each person would remove the kernels of corn from their cup and place them back in as they told of 5 things they were grateful for. 
   “i’m grateful for…my family. [plop]
  …i’m grateful for…my job. [plop]”
and so on and on and on and….on. 

the gripe with gratitude
gratitude is great. 
but it’s not without its baggage. 

gratitude is infused with judgement because it highlights what’s good
the difference is almost imperceptible. but when you are grateful for something, you are saying that it is good that you have it. i’m grateful for my house, my family, my job, my car. so if it’s good that you have them, it would be bad to be without them.that’s my hangup with gratitude. 

judgment is the labeling of something as good or bad. and gratitude, by its very nature, designates something good, so its opposite must be bad. 
if you strive to live a life without judgment, then nothing is good or bad, it just is.
let’s not go down the rabbit hole of judgment right now. suffice it to say, it’s hard to separate judgment from gratitude, mmmkay? 

enter appreciation
for me, appreciation doesn’t come with this baggage. 
where gratitude may be based in judgment, appreciation and its cousin enjoyment are based in acceptance. 
While gratitude comes with the fear of losing that which I am grateful for. With appreciation, that fear doesn’t exist – I know everything is temporary, and I know that’s ok, because one can find joy and beauty in nearly any situation. 
For example, you might be walking down the street on a summer day and walk past an old lady’s house and see a rose in bloom. Ah, how lovely, you think to yourself. I must own this rose. This rose must never change. If this rose stops being perfect, i will end both of us!Is that your next thought? 
i hope not. 
you get what i’m saying. a rose’s bloom is beautiful and temporary. that’s part of what makes it novel – it doesn’t last forever. 
you don’t need it to last forever in order to appreciate it. 
It is what it is and you are what you are and you can appreciate it for all its beauty. 
as you learn to let appreciation and enjoyment flow through you, you’ll see how you can appreciate this moment as it is without feeling fear or judgment or anything but the perfection of what is.

P.S. do i appreciate the fact that i’m dissing on gratitude for being steeped in judgment while trying to promote the idea that appreciation is…better? [sigh] i know. 

P.P.S. apparently, i wrote about this before #brokenrecord

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