Gracias A La Vida

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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)

Amazing the way good questions lead us so naturally to good answers, and how beautiful questions lead to even better answers! When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we’ve opened the doors to discovery and wonder and greater understanding.

I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a weekly consideration of things that matter every day.

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Especially when we’re struggling, it’s worth remembering that we’re not stuck in the negative things we’ve been telling ourselves. We can choose to focus on things that are more enlivening and more liberating.

With that in mind, join me this week as we consider the power of simple gratitude and how it can change our experience for the better. Stay with me.

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In my mind, I hear Joan Baez singing one of my favorite songs, ¡Gracias a la Vida! Composed in nineteen sixty-six by the Chilean artist, Violeta Parra, the opening line is, “¡Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto!” It translates into English as “Thanks to life, that has given me so much!”

When I first heard the song, I was drawn to the way Joan’s voice and guitar carried the music so beautifully. I still appreciate those things, though I’ve come to the place in my life where the gratitude expressed by the song’s lyrics touches me more deeply than any particular performance of it.

Like so many people, I’ve struggled more than a little in my life, but when I stop to consider the sum of it on an imaginary ledger sheet, the blessings and the Grace I experience far exceed everything else.

Over time, I learned that the hardships I’ve endured planted the seeds of innumerable good things that germinated and began sprouting almost immediately—seeds of focus and understanding, seeds of acceptance and compassion, seeds of patience and wisdom, seeds of love and grace, and seeds of things I’m only now discovering after all these years.

In even the worst of times, there were gifts to be found and celebrated.

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When we’re feeling down, it’s easy to bury ourselves in the painful emotions that come with endlessly restating our troubles. I won’t presume to speak for you, but I remember times when I voiced my sorrows over and over and felt miserable as a result of it. Healthy change came when I recognized that I was engaged in nothing more than the self-indulgent habit of keeping my pain alive. That was when I chose to put something far more effective in its place.

In every moment, we’re free to stop whatever we’re doing and tell ourselves, “No! I don’t have to think that. I’m free to think something else.”

Once we’ve created that pause, we’re free to put gratitude in the place of the self-defeating thinking we’ve been practicing. Imagine making a list of all the good things in your life right now, large and small. If you’re honest and diligent about it, you’re going to need more paper.



To bring yourself up to speed about that, it might be interesting to pause and start that list right now. Give yourself the freedom to write down whatever you’re grateful for, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. If anyone cares about you, write it down. If you have a roof over your head, write it down. If any part of you is free of pain, notice it and write it down. If you can think clearly today, write it down. Whatever it is you’re grateful for, put it on the list.

I invite you not to hurry the moment and not to add unnecessary pressure by telling yourself you have to get it right or do it perfectly.

Simply allow it to happen and enjoy the experience.

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Another way of practicing intentional gratitude is to speak it to yourself and others as often as the time for it presents itself. And for the record, don’t underestimate the power of self-gratitude. It softens and deepens our inner relationship. But don’t believe me. Demonstrate it to yourself.

Yet another is intentionally looking for the good. I’m not talking about putting on rose-colored glasses or looking at the world though a set of blinders, but in a time when harsh news and harsh circumstances are more than abundant, it can be so refreshing to mindfully notice the good things that are happening in us and around us all the time. You may be surprised how your mood changes as a result of making that form of intentional optimism a conscious habit.

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That brings us to our consideration of this week’s three Beautiful Questions.

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Question One: As you wrote down things that you are grateful for, what did you notice that surprised you or delighted you in some way?

Question Two: When you paused to stop and review your list, how did you feel?

Question Three: What might you do to make the practice of intentional gratitude a part of your experience for at least the next twenty-one days?

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I look forward to hearing where your considerations take you. Write and tell me about them. I’m listening.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light!

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I’m so glad we can engage this way every week as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself. You deserve that.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And each week at, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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