I notice I find appreciation in at least four ways:
I can find appreciation for what’s desirable in life from a conventional view. The usual gratitude lists are good here. I have food, shelter, friends. I am grateful for the sun, snow, song of the birds, good music.
I can find the silver linings in what’s undesirable, again from a conventional view. There may be something desirable in it here now, or what’s happening may be a stepping stone to something desirable in the future. I may learn from it, grow, find a closer and more satisfying connection with myself or others, be humbled in a good way, find empathy for myself or others, compassion, insights and so on.
Appreciation is naturally here when I find more clarity around my stories, when I see that what I thought happened didn’t in Byron Katie’s words. Shoulds cover appreciation. Clarity reveals a natural appreciation. I tell myself something is wrong, shouldn’t have happened, I made a mistake, and it is very difficult to find appreciation. I may try to force it, but it doesn’t really work. I find what’s more true for me than those stories, and appreciation surfaces on its own.
Finally, there is appreciation for what is, as it is. For it’s own sake. This is the simples and most basic one, and what’s revealed when there is more clarity. It’s an appreciation for life itself, as it is, in its richness. It’s an appreciation for life unfolding, exploring itself, experiencing itself. It’s an appreciation of God expressing, exploring and experiencing itself as just this. The infinite temporarily exploring and experiencing itself as finite, in fascination.
All of these can of course co-exist. They are layered.
- for the desirable in life (conventional view)
- for silver linings in the undesirable (conventional)
- either here now
- or for what it may lead to – as a stepping stone to something desirable
- learning, growth, closeness, humility, empathy, compassion, insights etc.
- from seeing that “what we thought happened didn’t” – clarity around stories, released from beliefs – can be quite radical, different from conventional
- for what is, as it is – for it’s own sake – the most basic one, what’s here when there is more clarity