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The Real Secret: Living Gratitude Series

3116d8436050d994fd201f219c9a9041 Today I welcome Bindu Manoj to share a real secret with you. Bindu and I connected via a Facebook group and found that we had a lot in common besides being bloggers. We’ve had some great chats on books, food, relationships and religion!

Do read Bindu’s blog on life and travel – Wanderlust At Home and her book review blog – Reminiscing the Reads. When she’s is not busy at her corporate job, spending time with her family or reading, Bindu is conjuring up some great food and uploading pictures of it to The Weekend Kitchen on Facebook.

Thank you, for sharing your very personal experience of gratitude here, Bindu.

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The Real Secret is part of the Living Gratitude Series

A few years ago, I read Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book ‘The Secret’ while going through a really rough patch in life. It was a time when even if someone held out a tiny straw, I would have clutched on to it, hoping that it would pull me out of the abyss that I was falling into. Most of what was written in the book seemed to be too materialistic, but there was a chapter on ‘The Powerful Process of Gratitude’ that somehow stayed back. As with nature, life’s seasons changed and I was back in the rut and rote that normal life is for most of us.

The message of gratitude was stored somewhere in the deep recesses of consciousness and would come up to the fore whenever I was upset or wanted something. And it seemed to work, almost always. The feeling of guilt persisted though, that I was being selfish and thankful for the wrong reasons and the nagging question persisted, “Am I really being grateful for what I have or am I using gratitude for getting what I want?”

Life went on, and then one day I just decided to take it up as a project and announce it to the world. Doing something on your own without letting anyone know is pretty easy. You can give it up any time you want, no one would know. But once, you make a public announcement, your ego nags you to see it through. For the first few days, it was more of a ritual that I had to attend to. The first reactions came from a few close friends, “You are a lot thankful these days.” And I answered, “Yes, I am trying to focus on what is good in my life, for a change.” Then a few of them started thanking me for forcing them to be aware of the blessings in their life.

The real change though, happened within. All of us are human beings with the associated failings and weaknesses, not to forget the egos. So when I was saying out aloud that I am thankful for every little thing in my life, the ego refuses to let me act otherwise. The awareness started creeping in. I have so many blessings, more importantly, most of what I had wished and prayed for years back, is there in my life now. So, why waste time thinking about what is to be, rather focus on the real blessings that I have now.

The attitude to people in my life, specially my most loved ones, was the next focus. One of the quotes that I found in my daily search really caught my attention, “What you take for granted the most are the ones that you should be really thankful for.” You are thrilled when you meet your old friends, you relive the funny moments that you spend with your workmates, but when it comes to the ones that you live with, how many of us take the effort for accepting them for what they are? We go along through life as if they are a given, constant part of your life, that you don’t even notice them. Rather, the only time you acknowledge their presence is when something goes wrong or they act contrary to our expectations.

As I started being truly aware of my loved ones and of the other aspects in my life, a sense of acceptance started enveloping me. That all is as it should be, in fact, that nothing could have been better. This, I feel is when I started feeling honestly happy about who and where I am. There was a shift in my reactions to the trivial irritants in daily life. After all, you have to be what you profess to be to the whole world. Jokes apart, the change is subtle, but sure.

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Sharing my path in life through gratitude, I would love to invite you on a similar journey. Be assured, you will most definitely not have everything you had longed for till then. The world around you will still be the same, the people and how they behave, more so. What you will have though is a fresh awareness of the simple and large blessings in your life, a change in your attitude to it and a feeling of acceptance that you are at the right place at the right time. You come alive with a sense of contentment that you had never before, a feeling of joy starts permeating your whole being, that spreads to those around you. Your soul and your very being becomes alert to the smell of the flowers around you, the rustle of breeze on the leaves, the shine of the sun on the dewdrops, the wonder in your child’s eyes as she reads her favorite book and in the genuine care that you can sense in the touch of your loved one. That, I feel is the real secret and the real magic.

Bindu

PS from Corinne – Do remember to send your gratitude stories here together with your links to help me create a collaborative post on the 18th.

36 Comments

  1. Amit Amit November 19, 2013

    Sometimes when we stay away from the people we love, we understand their importance. I understood it when I stayed away from my family for a few years. Since then, I have been grateful for their presence in my life.

  2. Debbie Debbie November 16, 2013

    You are so right, Bindu! My husband and I were becoming somewhat complacent in our relationship, (after nearly 40 years – not uncommon), when something happened that forced us to be apart for long periods. This separation gave us a new appreciation for each other and today, we are closer than we have ever been.

  3. Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

    You hit the nail right on top of the head, ” It is easy to say, hard to practice, but not impossible”

  4. Found In Folsom Found In Folsom November 15, 2013

    A very much needed post and series for me at this point of time in life. Yes,we need to accept our loved ones for what they are. It is easy to say, hard to practice, but not impossible. Thank you, Corinne and Bindu!

  5. The Girl Next Door The Girl Next Door November 14, 2013

    Lovely, thought-provoking post.
    I think I need to start focusing on the things that I do have in my life. These days, I have been focusing a lot on what I do not have. I think it will do me a world of good. Thank you for the wake-up call.

    • Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

      Anytime 🙂
      Sometimes, it takes tough times to show us what we truly have and should cherish

  6. Rachna Rachna November 14, 2013

    Beautiful thoughts and a great reminder for all of us. Blessed we are with family and friends that care for us and the least we can do is appreciate them for it. Great message and post, Bindu!

    • Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

      Thanks Rachna!
      Yes most of us are truly blessed, though we tend to forget it 🙂

  7. Kathy Kathy November 13, 2013

    I am a big believer in telling it like it is. I also believe that person tends to take things out on the ones who love them the most because they know they can and that person will always be there for them. Still we must remember that life is too short and that at any given moment death could find us. Because of that I try to live each day as if it were my last and never failing to tell those that I love that I do love them dearly. Wonderful post. ♥

    • Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

      Kathy, many of us tell it as it us, whether it is to family or friends, but there is a subtle difference in most cases how we treat family and others. Telling your loved ones that you do love them dearly is a wonderful thing to do.

  8. G Angela G Angela November 13, 2013

    Inspiring post ! and so true, gratitude creates a magic in our lives, it shifts our focus to count our blessings and fills us with an energy that keeps us happy.. thanks for sharing !

    • Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

      Yes, it is a magical feeling, makes you change your outlook slowly, but surely

  9. Shefali Shefali November 13, 2013

    Such a nice post. I have seen the secret and that has been my take away from it too. That gratitude and acceptance is what makes you truly happy, not the material stuff.

    • Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

      So true, isn’t it Shefali?
      It is not easy, but not impossible either

  10. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury November 13, 2013

    The things we take for granted. 🙂 Just last week, when my son returned from school, he informed me I didn’t pack a spoon with his dubba, which had idlis and had to eat with his fingers. Now, school kids want to finish their lunch real quick and be off to do the things they do. Having an additional thing to do – such as washing their hands is a pain. So I asked him, what about the hundreds and thousands to times I never forgot? 🙂 My 15-year old simply grinned and said that’s the way of the world. Keep on doing something it becomes an expectation everyone takes for granted. Slip up one day and they never let you forget it. Oh well, I got a hug and we laughed.

    I am blessed with family and friends who practice an attitude of gratitude.

    Loved your post, Bindu. Thank you.

    • Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

      Kids! They sure know how to bring things to perspective and how!

  11. usha menon usha menon November 13, 2013

    A very fine and thoughtful post. Yes Bibdu, we must be grateful to people around us, whom we take for granted and ignore them.They are the ones who protect us, care for us and quietly work for our welfare. Thank you Bindu and thank you Corinne for such a lovely post.

  12. Jairam Mohan Jairam Mohan November 13, 2013

    This was just such a beautiful post which highlighted the very important but overlooked aspect of expressing our gratitude for all the people that we interact with on a daily basis albeit in a transactional manner or due to the fact that we are related to them by familial bonds. After all, these remain the people that we take for granted and ignore all our lives, don’t they.

    • Dorothy Johnson Dorothy Johnson November 13, 2013

      Your post reminded me something a wise friend said long ago: “We often treat strangers better than our own family members.” Of course, that’s because we sometimes take them for granted knowing we can let down show our worst side without fear of rejection; however, it doesn’t mean we should. Her words come back to me from time to time, and I try to let my loved ones know how blessed I am to have them in my life — especially for putting of with me. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    • Bindu Bindu November 13, 2013

      Exactly, and sadly, sometimes we realize it after they are with us no more

    • Bindu Bindu November 15, 2013

      Yes and sadly in many cases we realize it after they are with us no more

  13. Talya Tate Boerner Talya Tate Boerner November 13, 2013

    I agree with your thoughts on gratitude. I am a big believer in saying it out loud – whatever ‘it’ may be. Once you vocalize your desire or plan, you are one step closer to doing it or feeling it or making it happen. You become accountable. Thank you! I’m going now to check out your blog!

    • Bindu Bindu November 13, 2013

      Spot on, Talya. For normal human beings like me, accountability comes once I have announced it to the world , or at least a few people close to me 🙂

  14. sangeeta khanna sangeeta khanna November 12, 2013

    Yes, the people who we take granted for are the ones we should feel the most thankful to. This acknowledgement within ourselves changes so much in our attitude towards life. Such a lovely post it is. Thank you both Bindu and Corinne 🙂

    • Bindu Bindu November 13, 2013

      Yes, Sangeeta, and many things fall into place once we realize that and start working on it.
      Thank you for the kind words

  15. Susan Deborah Susan Deborah November 12, 2013

    Loved the post. A simple but very profound truth that many of us leave unacknowledged. Thanks Corinne for asking Bindu over and thanks Bindu for the beautiful thoughts. And, yes, gratitude is an attitude!

    Joy always,
    Susan

    • Bindu Bindu November 13, 2013

      An attitude that is difficult to maintain, though not impossible. We need to remind ourselves daily 🙂

  16. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg November 12, 2013

    My take away from this post is “What you take for granted the most are the ones that you should be really thankful for”. We must certainly be grateful and should not take anything for granted especially our family, our loved ones! Thanks for a wonderful reminder, Bindu 🙂

    • Bindu Bindu November 13, 2013

      Thanks Shilpa, it was a reminder for me too 🙂

  17. Vaayadi Pennu ;) Vaayadi Pennu ;) November 12, 2013

    Li’l pleasures in life gives the max joy.. there is a subtle difference between being happy and being joyful.. lovely read Bins 🙂

    • Bindu Bindu November 13, 2013

      So rightly said, Aswathi 🙂

  18. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian November 12, 2013

    A lovely ‘wake-up’ post, Bindu!
    “What you take for granted the most are the ones that you should be really thankful for.” We take many people and things for granted. One thing that almost all of us take for granted is salt. Whenever we enjoy a meal, we say it’s cooked just right, the spices are just right, the presentation is very appealing, … BUT we never say the salt content is just right, in fact we don’t even notice it. However, we immediately complain if there’s a little more salt or a little less salt!

    • Vaayadi Pennu ;) Vaayadi Pennu ;) November 12, 2013

      🙂 and with that King Lear comes to mind again.. running to pick it up and read.. 🙂

    • Bindu Bindu November 13, 2013

      Loved the analogy, our loved ones are like salt, we notice their presence mostly when we miss them 🙂

  19. Bindu Bindu November 12, 2013

    Being a guest is a great feeling, specially so when you are with a good friend, whom you can talk to for hours on anything and everything.

    Thank you, Corinne for the invite, I am so excited to be here 🙂

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